Nestle Toll House Cookie Dough E. coli Outbreak
On June 18, 2009, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) issued a press release stating that CDPHE, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and other state health departments were investigating an outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 infections. CDPHE announced that at least 66 people in 28 states had become ill with E. coli since March of 2009 during an E. coli outbreak, including five Coloradoans. The agency further reported that the suspected source of the E. coli outbreak was Nestle Toll House prepackaged, refrigerated cookie dough.
On June 19, 2009, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that Nestle was recalling all Nestle Toll House prepackaged, refrigerated cookie dough for potential E. coli contamination after epidemiological evidence had led public health investigators from the CDC and state health departments to believe the cookie dough could be the source of the widespread E. coli outbreak. According to the FDA, 25 individuals were hospitalized with E. coli infection; seven with hemolytic uremic syndrome, a complication of E. coli infection that can lead to kidney failure.
FDA encouraged consumers with Nestle Toll House refrigerated cookie dough to discard the recalled products. The agency advised consumers not to cook the product since the risk of cross-contamination of E. coli from cookie dough to surfaces and hands is a risk.
On June 29, 2009, the FDA announced that E. coli O157:H7 was isolated from a sample of a 16-ounce Toll House refrigerated chocolate chip cookie dough bar.
The E. coli-contaminated sample was collected at Nestle’s facility in Danville, Virginia, which has been closed since the outbreak was announced and the recall initiated.
By August 7, 2009, the CDC had confirmed 80 illnesses in 31 states, including 35 people who had been hospitalized, eleven with hemolytic uremic syndrome.
On January 13, 2010 Nestle announced that samples of its refrigerated cookie dough made in the Virginia factory tested positive for E. coli. None of the tainted dough left the factory, making a recall unnecessary.