Foodborne Illnesses / Salmonella /

Papa Murphy’s Cookie Dough linked to Salmonella illnesses in Six States - 18 Sick

18 with Salmonella Enteritidis in Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho, Utah and Missouri.

CDC, public health and regulatory officials in several states, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are collecting different types of data to investigate a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Enteritidis infections.

Epidemiologic data show that Papa Murphy’s raw cookie dough may be contaminated with Salmonella and may be making people sick.

As of May 23, 2023, 18 people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella have been reported from Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho, Utah and Missouri. Illnesses started on dates ranging from February 27, 2023, to May 2, 2023.

Sick people range in age from 14 to 68 years, with a median age of 47, and 83% are female. Of 14 people with race or ethnicity information available, all reported non-Hispanic white. Of 14 people with information available, 2 have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.

Public health investigators are using the PulseNet system to identify illnesses that may be part of this outbreak. CDC PulseNet manages a national database of DNA fingerprints of bacteria that cause foodborne illnesses. DNA fingerprinting is performed on bacteria using a method called whole genome sequencing (WGS). WGS showed that bacteria from sick people’s samples are closely related genetically. This suggests that people in this outbreak got sick from the same food.

Papa Murphy’s has temporarily stopped selling their raw chocolate chip cookie dough and raw S’mores bars dough. CDC is advising people to check their refrigerator and freezer for these raw doughs and to throw any away. CDC always advises people not to eat raw cookie dough, unless it has a label indicating that it is safe to be eaten raw.

Today health officials in Washington and Oregon confirmed recent cases of Salmonella infection connected to the consumption of Papa Murphy’s cookie dough.

A cluster of four cases with identical strains of Salmonella bacteria were investigated by epidemiologists at the Oregon Health Authority (OHA).

Initial results of the Oregon investigation:

  • Cases range in age from 20 to 57 years of age
  • Onset of symptoms occurred between April 1 and April 21
  • None of the illnesses resulted in hospitalization, and there have been no deaths

Health officials in Washington have reported six cases (15-54 years old) from six counties: Clark (1), King (1), Lincoln (1), Pierce (1), Spokane (1), Whatcom (1). One person has been hospitalized. Of those interviewed so far, four of six report eating raw, take and bake cookie dough products from Papa Murphy’s.

At this early stage of the investigation, it is unknown yet which ingredient within the cookie dough caused the outbreak and resultant illnesses. What is clear is that Papa Murphy’s raw cookie dough is meant to be cooked prior to eating.  

Papa Murphy’s, headquartered in Vancouver, Wash., sells uncooked or “take-and-bake” pizzas and cookie dough that are intended to be baked at home. Investigators believe that eating raw cookie or S’mores Bar dough sold by Papa Murphy’s restaurants was significantly associated with contracting this strain of Salmonella.

“People should contact a health care provider if they believe they’ve had symptoms of salmonellosis, including diarrhea, after eating raw cookie dough,” said Paul Cieslak, M.D., medical director for communicable diseases and immunizations at the OHA Public Health Division. “It’s important to remember, though, that most people with salmonellosis will recover without needing medical care or antibiotics.”

“We recommend anyone who has any of the potentially contaminated cookie or S’mores Bar dough to discard it and wash your hands afterward,” added Dr. Cieslak. For those who have eaten cookie or pizza dough but not gotten sick it is not necessary to notify a health care provider.

OHA epidemiologists are working closely with the Washington State Department of Health, the Oregon Department of Agriculture and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to investigate the outbreak. Efforts to trace the source of the Salmonella are ongoing.

During 2013–2022 — the most recent 10-year period — Oregon averaged 459 (range, 337–585) reported cases of salmonellosis per year.

Symptoms of Salmonella:

  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Abdominal cramps one to seven days after exposure

The illness usually lasts four to seven days. Although most people recover without treatment, some have severe infections. Infants, elderly people and those with weakened immune systems are more likely to develop severe illness. Salmonella may spread from the intestines to the bloodstream and then to other body sites and, in rare cases, can be deadly.

A recently reported Salmonella outbreak linked to Gold Brand Flour may possibly linked as well.

According to the CDC, as of May 1, 2023, 13 people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Infantis have been reported from 12 states – including Oregon. Illnesses started on dates ranging from December 6, 2022, to March 1, 2023.

Public health officials collect many different types of information from sick people, including their age, race, ethnicity, other demographics, and the foods they ate in the week before they got sick. This information provides clues to help investigators identify the source of the outbreak.

Sick people range in age from 12 to 81 years, with a median age of 64, and 92% are female. Of 10 people with race or ethnicity information available, nine are White, one is Asian, and no one reported Hispanic ethnicity. Of 13 people with information available, three have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.

State and local public health officials are interviewing people about the foods they ate in the week before they got sick. Of the eight people interviewed, seven (88%) reported eating raw dough or batter. Of six sick people with brand information, all six (100%) reported buying Gold Medal brand flour. The only brand reported was Gold Medal.

Salmonella: Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of Salmonella outbreaks. The Salmonella lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of Salmonella and other foodborne illness outbreaks and have recovered over $850 million for clients. Marler Clark is the only law firm in the nation with a practice focused exclusively on foodborne illness litigation. Our Salmonella lawyers have litigated Salmonella cases stemming from outbreaks traced to a variety of foods, such as cantaloupe, tomatoes, ground turkey, salami, sprouts, cereal, peanut butter, and food served in restaurants. The law firm has brought Salmonella lawsuits against such companies as Cargill, ConAgra, Peanut Corporation of America, Sheetz, Taco Bell, Subway and Wal-Mart.

If you or a family member became ill with a Salmonella infection, including Reactive Arthritis or Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), after consuming food and you’re interested in pursuing a legal claim, contact the Marler Clark Salmonella attorneys for a free case evaluation. You can fill out the contact form or call toll-free at 800-884-9840.

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