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E. Coli Found In Nestle Toll House Cookie Dough

Posted by Jane Akre
Tuesday, June 30, 2009 12:58 PM EST
Category: Major Medical, Protecting Your Family
Tags: E. Coli, 0157, FDA, CDC, Salmonella, Food Borne Illness, Nestle, Public Health

Nestle Toll House cookie dough was found to be contaminated by E. coli inside the plant.



IMAGE SOURCE: CNN Web site/ Nestle Toll House Cookie Dough


Identified in Dough

It is still a mystery how E. coli 0157 made it into Nestle Toll House refrigerated cookie dough – but it has been positively identified inside a tub of dough made inside the company’s Danville, Virginia plant.   This is the first solid proof that 69 illnesses from the bacterium are linked to eating the raw cookie dough.

Microbiologists from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) confirmed the presence of the deadly strain of bacteria yesterday.  They did not find evidence of it inside the plant or in equipment or on workers.   The dough in question had a use by date of June 10.

30,000 cases of refrigerated cookie dough were recalled by Nestle earlier this month after the FDA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 69 people sickened had eaten raw dough. Nearly everyone was female and under the age of 19.

34 of the victims have been hospitalized. Nine developed a complication known as hemolytic-uremic syndrome which primarily affects children.  No one has died but E. coli can cause dehydration, bloody diarrhea and kidney failure.  Most susceptible are children, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems.  

E. coli

E. coli 0157 is not normally found in humans in their intestinal flora but it present in about one percent of healthy cattle.  Most often transmission to humans comes from undercooked meat.

E. coli 0157 produces a toxin called Shiga toxin that is among a group that most often causes illness in people. About 73,000 Americans are hit with food-borne illnesses every year, killing about 61, according to federal statistics.

The first lawsuit has been filed by an 18-year-old who ate Nestle cookie dough raw and was hospitalized for a week.  Jillian Collins of San Carlos, California suffered nausea, bloody diarrhea and painful abdominal cramps after eating what she admits was between a quarter and half of the raw cookie dough on May 20 and 22.  

The portion of the Nestle plant has been closed and 250 people are out of work, bad news for the rural Danville community already reeling from the downturn in the economy. The other portion of the plant makes Buitoni pasta and continues to operate.   # 

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