Photographer: Mark Lennihan/AP Photo
Instagram Famous Cookie Shop Sued For Allegedly Bad Dough
Instagram’s most beloved cookie dough confectioner is facing a proposed class action alleging the not-baked goods cause food-borne illness.
Cookie Dō, which boasts over 180,000 followers on the social media destination, sells cookie dough made from pasteurized egg product and heat-treated flour. “That means NO chance of food-borne illness or the risk that comes along with eating raw flour products,” the company’s website boasts. “At last, worry-free treats you can’t get sick from!”
The lawsuit, filed in Manhattan federal court, claims Dō’s products do, in fact, make people sick. The lawsuit doesn’t seek specific damages, noting only that “there’s an aggregate amount in controversy exceeding $5 million.”
The company said Friday in a statement that it stands “behind the safety of our products and our representations about our products. We will fully and faithfully defend ourselves against any and all false accusations.”
First started as an online business, Dō opened a brick-and-mortar location in New York City’s Greenwich Village earlier this year. It received glowing media coverage and was the subject of a viral Facebook video with over 73 million views. Quickly, the small shop attracted a line that regularly stretched a city block. It’s so popular, in fact, that a professional line sitter frequently does business in the long queue.
Dō’s publicity is what encouraged plaintiffs Julia Canigiani and Katherine Byrne to visit the New York location, according to the complaint. Canigiani ordered a “Sandōwich,” an ice cream and cookie dough sandwich which retails for $5, and Byrne opted for a scoop of oatmeal M&M cookie dough. “Within approximately 15 minutes, plaintiff Canigiani began experiencing stomach pains,” according to the complaint. “Later that day, she experienced more severe stomach pains and nausea. Throughout the night, plaintiff suffered from diarrhea. She was unable to eat until the following afternoon.” Byrne suffered from a stomach ache, heartburn, and nausea, according to the complaint.
The two women aren’t the only ones to suffer such illness, the plaintiffs alleged. It cited eight reviews posted on Yelp of individuals complaining of aches after eating at Dō.
The lawsuit is the latest development in the debate over whether “raw” cookie dough is safe to consume. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration warns against eating cookie dough, but its confectioners have argued the product is safe so long as the flour is heat-treated and there are no raw eggs in the recipe. The raw food safety debate extends beyond cookie dough: some social media users have expressed concern about purveyors of chicken sashimi. And a raw, vegan diet preferred by Gwyneth Paltrow has triggered its fair share of detractors.
Still, so long as aesthetically pleasing food goes viral, consumers may be willing to try it. “Plaintiffs were excited to try the social media buzz worthy products,” Brittany Weiner, the plaintiff’s attorney, said in an email. They “were obviously disappointed after it failed to meet the marketed representation that one would not get sick.”
The lawsuit, which includes a plaintiff who once worked for the law firm that filed it, claims violations of New York general business law, fraudulent concealment, negligent misrepresentation, and unjust enrichment.