Cookie Dough Loaded With Three Kinds of E. Coli

For more information or questions about Nestle Toll House raw cookie dough, visit the company's Web site, www.verybestbaking.com.

At the time, health officials said they were not positive Toll House cookie dough was to blame, but Nestle took precautionary steps because many of the people sick ate the raw cookie dough.

"Consumers who have purchased these products should not consume them," the Nestle statement said. "Instead, we are asking that consumers return these products to their local grocer for a full refund."

Nestle does advise on its package that people should not eat raw cookie dough.

The company also stressed that its other products were OK to eat -- including its pre-baked cookies, chocolate chips, cocoa and ice cream made by Dreyer's and Edy's that contain cookie dough.

The FDA also released a statement June 19 about the cookie dough advising consumers to throw away cookie dough products already in their refrigerators.

"Cooking the dough is not recommended because consumers might get the bacteria on their hands and on other cooking surfaces," the FDA statement said.

Severe Symptoms

Symptoms of E. coli include dehydration, bloody diarrhea and stomach pain, though serious cases can lead to kidney failure. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are about 76 million cases of foodborne sicknesses in the United States every year.

Still, a recent study showed that many Americans ignore food recalls designed to keep them safe.

Earlier this week, federal health officials announced new measures intended to prevent tainted products from entering the food supply.

The measures, announced by Vice President Biden, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, included requirements to refrigerate eggs during transport and more stringently inspect poultry houses to prevent the spread of salmonella. It also included efforts intended to keep E. coli out of beef and prevent bacteria from entering fruits and leafy greens.

"There are few responsibilities more basic or important than the government making sure the families in America eat food that's safe," Biden said.

The changes came four months after President Obama laid out plans to improve food safety after concerns about tainted peanut butter and tomatoes, which were quickly followed by problems with pistachios.

Obama vowed to boost the number of food inspectors and modernize labs to better keep tabs on the nation's food supply, adding that vulnerabilities in the food-safety system stemmed in part from outdated guidelines.

"Part of the reason is that many of the laws and regulations governing food safety in America have not been updated since they were written in the time of Teddy Roosevelt," he said.

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