Nestlé USA has recalled all varieties of its prepackaged, refrigerated Nestle Toll House cookie dough due to E. coli contamination. The dough may be linked to as many as 66 illnesses in 28 states.
Twenty-five people have been hospitalized, several with a serious complication called hemolytic uremic syndrome. Officials aren't clear as to how the cookie dough became infected with the E. coli O157 strain, which is usually found in meat. Symptoms of E. coli poisoning include abdominal cramping, vomiting and bloody diarrhea. Although most adults recover within a week, severe kidney damage and even death can occur.
Cooking may kill the bacteria, but handling the raw dough can spread contamination to hands and cooking surfaces. Nestlé, known for its strict adherence to food safety guidelines, is asking the public to throw away all cookie dough products. Consumers can also return cookie and brownie dough products to retailers for a full refund.