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First Contaminated Nestle Toll House Cookie Dough Lawsuit As Inspectors Search For Clues

Posted by Jane Akre
Tuesday, June 23, 2009 9:34 AM EST
Category: Major Medical, Protecting Your Family
Tags: Toll House, CDC, FDA, E. Coli 0157, Food Borne Illness, Contaminated Food

Inspectors are probing the Virginia plant of Nestle Toll House cookie sourcing the E. coli found in the dough.



IMAGE SOURCE:  Wikimedia Commons / Toll House Cookies on a sheet/ author: Kevin Laver


Nestle Cookie Dough Update, Lawsuit

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. She was making cookies for her brother.

She was in such pain that she went to the emergency room at Palo Alto Medical Foundation, then taken by ambulance to Stanford Medical Center where E. coli contamination was confirmed.

Collins is just one of 70 people who have been sickened by the raw cookie dough that contains the bacteria E. coli 0157. No one has died.  People in 30 states have been affected.

41 individuals have been identified to have been contaminated with this particular strain of E. coli through advanced DNA testing. Everyone had eaten raw cookie dough. 

Normally E. coli contamination is found in meat since it lives in the intestines of cattle. But it has also been found to contaminate food grown downstream from intense agribusiness operations. 

Nestle has recalled 300,000 cases of the dough.  A spokeswoman says the E. coli strain implicated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has not been found in Nestle products.  

Meanwhile federal microbiologists are sorting through the company’s Danville, Virginia plant that produces the refrigerated dough to begin the detective work necessary to find the source of the deadly strain of the bacterium. 

Generally salmonella is the risk associated with cookie dough. Salmonella is found in raw eggs and the cookie dough label warns people from eating the dough raw. 

Inspectors will have to consider whether the plant’s equipment and interior was contaminated with E. coli and whether the workers were healthy. Also under consideration is whether the facility is located near cattle.  Intentional contamination is not out of the realm of possibility.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports more than two-thirds are victims under the age of 19. 

Revamping the nation’s outdated food safety inspections is a priority of President Obama. New legislation would place additional requirements on food manufacturers to guarantee safety and on the FDA to increase both inspections and enforcement. The House and Senate both have versions of the legislation.

Nestle is cooperating with the federal inspections.  Nestle is providing a complete listing of the recalled products.    

Consumers who have additional questions about these products should contact Nestle consumer services at 1-800-559-5025 and/or visit their Web site at www.verybestbaking.com.  #

1 Comment

Posted by Bill Marler
Wednesday, June 24, 2009 5:54 AM EST

Thanks for the shout out for my client Jillian. We filed a second suit in Colorado on Tuesday.

Comments for this article are closed.

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