The Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are investigating reports of E. coli illness caused by consumption of Nestle’s Toll House refrigerated cookie dough products. Nestle’s U.S. operations announced today that it was voluntarily recalling the Toll House products.
According to the FDA, Nestle is cooperating fully with an ongoing epidemiological study being conducted by the CDC and several state health departments. Authorities say there have been 66 reports of E. coli food poisoning linked to the cookie dough products. The reported illnesses span 28 states.
Of the reported illnesses, 25 people have been hospitalized. Although there have been no reported deaths, 7 people have developed a severe complication called Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS), a form of kidney failure.
The FDA strongly advises consumers to throw out any prepackaged, refrigerated Nestle Toll House cookie dough products they may have in their home. The agency also advises against cooking the dough because the bacteria may easily be transferred to hands and other surfaces where it may cause infection.
Retail establishments, restaurants, and other food-service operations should also dispose of any of the cookie dough products immediately.
According to the FDA, the E. coli O157:H7 bacteria causes abdominal cramping, vomiting, and diarrhea. Healthy adults usually recover within a week. However, young children and elderly are at highest risk for developing HUS, which can lead to serious kidney damage and even death.
“We want to strongly advise consumers that raw cookie dough should not be eaten,” Nestle said in a statement.
Nestle said the recalled products included all varieties of Nestle Toll House refrigerated Cookie Bar Dough, Cookie Dough Tub, Cookie Dough Tube, Limited Edition Cookie Dough items, Seasonal Cookie Dough, and Ultimates Cookie Bar Dough.
Individuals who have recently eaten any of these products and have experienced food poisoning symptoms should contact their doctor or health care provider immediately.