All varieties of pre-packaged and refrigerated "Toll House" cookie dough are being recalled by Nestle, because the products have been linked to multiple E. Coli illnesses in consumers who ate the dough raw.
Investigation by federal health officials is in progress, but the FDA says that since March, 66 reports of E. Coli illness (in 28 states) have been tied to the consumption of raw Toll House cookie dough. 25 people required hospitalization, with seven consumers developing a severe E. Coli-related complication called Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS). There have been no deaths reported.
If you have any prepackaged Nestle "Toll House" cookie dough in your home, you should throw it away, the FDA advises. Since there is a chance that the dough is contaminated, eating it raw should definitely be avoided. And cooking it isn't a good idea because the bacteria can make its way onto your hands and onto cooking surfaces.
For a complete listing of recalled Nestle Tool House cookie dough products -- including product descriptions and UPC codes -- see the Recall Announcement from Nestle USA.
Escherichia coli (E. coli) O157:H7 is one of hundreds of strains of the bacterium E. coli. Although most strains are harmless, E. coli O157:H7 produces a powerful toxin that can cause severe illness -- with symptoms like cramping, vomiting and diarrhea.
According to the FDA, healthy adults usually make a complete recovery from E. coli illness within a week. But young children and the elderly are at greatest risk for developing a severe complication called Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome, which can cause severe kidney damage, and even death.