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Report Says Nestle Plant at Center of E. Coli Outbreak Refused FDA Records Requests

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The Wall Street is reporting that during some inspections conducted over the last five years, a Nestle USA manufacturing facility at the center of a multistate E. coli outbreak refused  to allow the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) access to records regarding customer complaints, pest control and contamination prevention programs.  What’s more, officials at the Nestle USA facility in Danville, Virginia were legally allowed to do so.

According to the Journal, in most instances, companies  are not required to show those types of records to the FDA, and such refusals are not uncommon. The FDA can only compel food firms to turn them over if it invokes a bioterrorism law, and can show that foods made at a facility pose a serious health threat.  The only exception to this are facilities that produce infant formula, seafood, juices and low-acid canned food, the Journal said.

Recently, a House of Representatives committee approved food safety legislation that would give the FDA access to all records at a food manufacturing facility, but it is not known when it will come up for  a final vote, the Journal  said.  A similar law was recently introduced in Senate.

Last Friday, the FDA warned consumers not to eat any varieties of Prepackaged Nestle Toll House refrigerated cookie dough following reports of people infected with E. coli O157:HY in dozens of states. At the time, the agency said that dozens of E. coli illnesses might be related to consumption of raw cookie dough.  That same day, Nestle recalled 300,000 cases of those cookie dough products.

According to the latest Centers for Disease Control (CDC) update, at least  69 people  in 29 states had been sickened by  the same strain of E. coli. Thirty-four people have been hospitalized, 9 developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS).   There have been no deaths reported.

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