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E. Coli Confirmed in Nestle Toll House Cookie Dough

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By David Goguen on June 30, 2009 8:14 AM

The presence of the E. coli O157:H7 bacterium has been confirmed in prepackaged Nestle Toll House refrigerated cookie dough, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced Monday.

The agency discovered the foodborne illness bacterium in a testing sample of the recalled cookie dough products, during inspection of a Nestle facility in Danville, Virginia on June 25.

The nationwide recall of all varieties of pre-packaged Nestle Toll House cookie dough was announced on June 19, after the products were linked to multiple E. Coli illnesses in consumers who ate the dough raw. So far, 69 people in 29 states have been infected with E. Coli related to the cookie dough, with 34 hospitalizations, according to the latest numbers from the FDA. Nine patients have been diagnosed with a serious kidney complication called hemolytic uremic syndrome.

FDA says that additional lab testing is needed "to conclusively link the E. coli strain found in the product to the same strain that is causing the outbreak." The agency is inspecting Nestle production facilities, and reviewing company records and safety procedures in an effort to determine how the Toll House cookie dough contamination may have happened, and how future product contamination can be prevented.

FDA has launched a new Questions and Answers About the Nestle Toll House Cookie Dough Recall web page to keep consumers informed and up to date on the latest news related to the E. Coli outbreak and investigation.

A number of lawsuits have already been filed against Nestle over the tainted cookie dough, including one by an 18-year-old California woman who claims that she was hospitalized for one week with painful abdominal cramps and other stomach problems, and another suit by Colorado parents who allege that their six-year-old daughter contracted E. Coli after eating the Nestle product.

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