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E. coli Associated with Cookie Dough In 30 States

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At least 70 people across the country have been sickened with E. coli O157:H7 associated with frozen, prepackaged Nestle Toll House cookie dough.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the outbreak spans 30 states.  Of those sickened,  30  have been hospitalized,  and  7 developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS).  None have died.   The majority of those sickened – 66%  – are under the age of 19, and three quarters  are female.

E. coli O157:H7 causes abdominal cramping, vomiting and a diarrheal illness, often with bloody stools. Most healthy adults can recover completely within a week. Young children and the elderly are at highest risk for developing HUS, which can lead to serious kidney damage and even death. According to the CDC, E. coli O157:H7 is responsible for sickening 73,000 people every year, and of those, 60 will die from the disease.

Last Friday, the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) warned consumers not to eat any varieties of Prepackaged Nestle Toll House refrigerated cookie dough.  At the time, the agency said the E. coli  illnesses might be related to consumption of raw cookie dough. The FDA has advised consumers to dispose of the cookie dough if they have it.  Cooking the dough is not recommended because consumers might get the bacteria on their hands and on other cooking surfaces.

The E. coli outbreak prompted Nestle USA to initiate a voluntary recall of the products. The recall includes 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.

Earlier this week, Nestle also announced the temporary closing of its Danville, Virginia plant because of the E. coli outbreak.  FDA inspectors are at the plant trying to determine how E. coli might have made it into the cookie dough.  E. coli O157:H7 has not been previously associated with eating raw cookie dough, the CDC said.

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