Beware, before eating stored cookies as it might adversely affect your health. In a new study, researchers have revealed that cookies and sandwich crackers stored for long duration (up to six months) can contain pathogens like salmonella. Pathogens can disrupt the normal physiology of a multicellular animal or plant and can cause disease or illness to its host.
Researchers conducted the study after registering rise in number of cases due to foodborne diseases linked with dry foods. Study authors also wanted to see how long a disease-causing bacteria can survive in certain packed foods.
Lead researcher Larry Beuchat from University of Georgia, US said, “there have been an increased number of outbreaks of diseases associated with consumption of contaminated dry foods. We would not expect salmonella to grow in foods that have a very dry environment.”
For the study, researchers observed five different types of pathogens like salmonella. All the serotypes were isolated from the previous foodborne outbreaks. Now researchers tested the surviving ability of serotypes in dry foods with low moisture like cookies and sandwich crackers. For this, study authors put the salmonella into four types of fillings found in cookies or crackers and placed them into storage.
Peanut butter and cheese fillings were used for cracker sandwiches while reserchers used vanilla and chocolate fillings for the cookies. Now, researchers observed for how long these pathogens can survive in dry foods. What study authors found was mind-boggling.
It was found that these disease-causing salmonella were able to survive more than six months in dry conditions, which was not expected at all. Thus, study authors warned people to avoid eating such dry foods and take proper precautions before consuming any such food else it might make you ill and even lead to death in certain conditions.
The study appeared in the Journal of Food Protection.