When a food recall is announced, do you check your pantry for the product? A study recently published by Rutger's University says only about 60 percent of Americans ever look for the recalled food.

The latest recall involved Nestlé Toll House refrigerated cookie dough, which was recalled in mid-June because of a risk of contamination with E. Coli bacteria. Thankfully for cookie lovers, after a plant shutdown, an investigation and a cleanup, Nestlé is now using ingredients from new suppliers and is making cookie dough again. Consumers can identify the newly made products by looking for labels with shields that say "new batch" on them.

So why don't consumers take food recalls like this seriously? Of the more than 1,000 people interviewed for the Rutger's study, 40 percent believe the food recalls don't apply to them and never even search their cupboards to see if they have the recalled food. Another 25 percent said they automatically throw out any food made by the company in question, no matter if it's a part of the recall or not.

But the most surprising finding of the survey indicated that 12 percent of people who do find the recalled food at home go ahead and eat it anyway!

Food recall information and instructions must be clear and concise to make consumers understand the problem.

Delayed, confusing or conflicting food recall information allows consumers to be complacent, and they don't follow instructions or may go ahead and gamble on consuming contaminated food.

You can check out the facts on food and other product recalls at the Food and Drug Administration consumer Web site at www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ and even sign up to receive consumer updates by e-mail.

So, the next time a food recall is announced, be proactive! Check to see if you have the product in question and follow the appropriate instructions to return or discard the item.

For more tips from Linda Beech, check out her blog, Living Well, at SWKTalk.com/livingwell.