Peanuts, Pistachios, Cookie Dough…Oh, My!

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It’s been a bad year for the food industry, with recalls for peanuts, pistachios, ground beef and the latest entry: Nestle Toll House Cookie Dough.

The ongoing pistachio recall includes more than 660 organic and nonorganic products that may pose a salmonella risk. And even after companies were warned to stop selling pistachios sourced from Setton Farms (ground zero for the outbreak), the FDA recently found that Anaheim, Calif.-based Orca Distribution West had repacked and distributed potentially contaminated nuts under the California Prime Produce and Orange County Orchards brands, most of which were sold at airports and hotels.

According to the FDA, Orca has “not made a public announcement regarding these products.”


As for Nestle, the FDA and CDC have warned consumers to avoid eating any varieties of Nestle Toll House Cookie Dough because of possible E. coli contamination. Since March, there have been 66 reports of illness across 28 states, with 25 hospitalizations. Seven of the hospitalized patients developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a potentially fatal condition that can seriously damage the kidneys. No one has died.

If you happen to have any Nestle cookie dough in your fridge, throw it away. Don’t bake the dough, as your hands and cooking surfaces can be contaminated by the bacterium. Nestle has updated information on its website, as well as a toll-free phone number to handle questions: (800) 559-5025.

“If there was anyone left in America who didn’t realize we need to reform the food safety functions at the Food and Drug Administration, this latest recall of Nestle Toll House Cookie Dough provides a sobering wakeup call,” says Sarah Klein, attorney for the Center for Science in the Public Interest in Washington, DC.

“For too long, the agency has lacked the authority and the resources it needs to inspect food processing facilities, issue mandatory recalls and punish violators,” she adds. “Once again, the agency is forced to react after illnesses are already occurring, when the focus should be on preventing contamination in the first place. We urge the House to pass the Food Safety Enhancement Act now.”

Photos courtesy of Orca Distribution (top), Nestle

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