Concord, NH – The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is urging New Hampshire residents not to eat raw Nestle Toll House cookie dough because of possible contamination with E. coli O157:H7. Nestle has voluntarily recalled all varieties of prepackaged Toll House cookie dough. New Hampshire has identified two cases related to this recall, one person who was sick in March and one in late May, related to this cluster of illness. Both have recovered.
New Hampshire health officials are continuing to investigate in coordination with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Preliminary results from the multi-state investigation suggest that the Nestle Toll House cookie dough may be the source of the outbreak, but further investigation is ongoing.
“E. coli is a bacteria that produces a toxin that is potentially deadly to people,” said Dr. Jose Montero, Director of Public Health at DHHS, “especially young children and seniors. Though it has not been confirmed yet that this product is the cause of this outbreak, if you have eaten any of this product raw, you should be on alert for possible symptoms of E.coli. Typically, cooking the product as directed will kill the bacteria, however, consumers should discard the recalled cookie dough since the bacteria can get on their hands and on other cooking surfaces.”
Symptoms of E. coli illness include fever, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea. Most people recover within 10 days but a small percentage of people become extremely ill, with symptoms including hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which is characterized by the destruction of red blood cells and kidney failure. Most people recover from HUS but it can be fatal. People who have this product in their homes should discard it. Consumers are reminded that they should not eat raw food products that are intended for cooking or baking before consumption.
Also, people are being advised to use safe food-handling practices when preparing such products, including following package directions for cooking at proper temperatures; washing hands, surfaces, and utensils after contact with these types of products; avoiding cross contamination; and refrigerating products properly. For more information about this recall and E. coli visit the CDC website at www.cdc.gov and the FDA website at www.fda.gov.