With reports of 66 cases of E. coli O157:H7 across 28 states, Nestle has announced a recall of its Cookie Dough Products.  The illnesses include 25 hospitalizations, and 7 cases of hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS).  HUS is a life-threatening complication of E. coli O157:H7 infection, that recently was reported as the cause of death in two young children in the U.S not appearing to be related to this outbreak.

On its website, Nestle apologizes, sort of, for the "inconvenience" it has caused.   Inconvenience?  Being late to work is inconvenient.   Fighting for your life on dialysis is something else. That "apology" doesn’t come until after Nestle has taken the time for blaming the victims:  "Nestlé Toll House cookies made from refrigerated and frozen dough are perfectly safe for consumption when prepared according to the instructions on the label. These clearly state that the raw dough must be baked before consumption."

Here is the actual information on the label: 

Cookie Dough is Filled by Weight.   Use or Freeze by Date Indicated on the Package.  Cookie Dough Contains Raw Ingredients.  Bake Before Consuming.

None of this excuses Nestle from having a product on the shelves with E. coli O157:H7 in it.   As an initial matter, baking of the dough comes AFTER handling of the product, and therefore after exposure of the bakers (likely including families with children) to E. coli O157:H7.  More importantly, there are many products on the market right now, labeling themselves as cookie dough products, that are ready to eat, including ice cream, and breakfast pastries.  


This "Yahoo Answers" page, from before today’s recall, shows a majority of respondents indicating that consuming raw cookie dough is just fine.   


All of this, and we are expected to believe that Nestle had no idea that people might be eating the dough raw?  And that Nestle was doing everything it could to discourage such a practice?