The current issue of the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases details the June 19, 2009 national recall of all our Nestlé Toll House refrigerated cookie dough products, the day after we had been informed by the CDC and FDA that there was an association between consumption of our product and onset of foodborne illness (E.coliO157:H7).
As we look back to June of 2009, we remember this investigation as an incredibly intense experience. We immediately removed all of our refrigerated cookie dough from sale (3.6 million packages) and returned to market several weeks later with a program of intensified testing. In January of 2010, we made the responsible decision to switch to heat treated flour.
The authors of the journal article—many of whom played key roles in the investigation—conclude that raw agricultural flour remains the prime suspect for introducing the pathogen into our products. The authors of this report also recommend that all cookie dough manufacturers implement the use of heat-treated flour in their ready-to-bake cookie dough products. Since January 2010, Nestlé Toll House refrigerated cookie dough has been made with heat-treated (or pasteurized) flour.
Nestlé is committed to food safety and food quality. Our refrigerated cookie dough packaging clearly advises “Do not consume without baking.” As we approach the holiday season and the time of year when many are in the kitchen baking together, please take a moment to remind your family and friends that these warnings exist for good reason. No one should eat raw cookie dough, whether pre-packaged or made “from scratch.”
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