The food giant said it had recalled 46 of its refrigerated cookie dough products as a precautionary measure after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) notified it an investigation had been launched following an outbreak of E.coli illnesses linked to eating raw cookie dough. The bodies said most of those affected reported eating refrigerated prepackaged Nestle Toll House cookie dough products raw.
The FDA confirmed that 66 cases across 28 states had been reported since March 2009. Some 25 people had been hospitalized, with seven developing severe complications called Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS). No one has died.
The US safety agency has warned consumers not to eat any varieties of Nestle’s Toll House dough and advised people to throw away any such produce in their possession. FDA experts strongly cautioned against cooking the dough as the potentially deadly bacteria could spread through hand contact and also through contact with cooking surfaces.
No E.coli detected by Nestle
Nestle USA spokeswoman Roz O’Hearn told FoodProductionDaily.com that the company had shut down its production lines for refrigerated dough last Wednesday after being briefed by the FDA and CDC about the contamination.
“From our point of view this is a huge concern and we are recalling all raw dough products in various sizes and formats, everything that is in the market place,” she said.
The E.coli strain identified by the FDA had not been found in Nestle dough after the company had tested its “retain samples” from the batches under suspicion, she added.
A Nestle statement said: “While the E. coli strain implicated in this investigation has not been detected in our product, the health and safety of our consumers is paramount so we are initiating this voluntary recall. We have been and will continue to cooperate fully with the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control in this investigation. Providing safe, high quality products to our consumers is our number one priority.”
The company said all its packets of raw dough carry instructions not to consume the product before cooking. They have urged consumers who have bought Toll House raw dough to return to the place of purchase.
Nestle said the products involved in the voluntary recall included all varieties of Nestle Toll House refrigerated Cookie Bar Dough, Cookie Dough Tub; Cookie Dough Tube; Limited Edition Cookie Dough items; Seasonal Cookie Dough and Ultimates Cookie Bar Dough.