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Tainted Cookie Dough: First Lawsuit Filed, CDC Updates Health Stats

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By David Goguen on June 23, 2009 11:11 AM

Less than a week after consumers were warned not to eat Nestle "Toll House" cookie dough products because of E. Coli fears, health problems linked to the pre-packaged dough are coming into clearer focus, and the first lawsuit has been filed against Nestle.

A brief recap: Last Friday, Nestle and the FDA announced that all prepackaged and refrigerated Nestle Toll House cookie dough products were being recalled due to fears of E. Coli contamination, especially when the product is eaten raw. Consumers were advised to throw out any Toll House cookie dough products in their home, because even if the dough is cooked, bacteria can still make its way onto hands and cooking surfaces.

Tainted Cookie Dough: Health Data. Federal and state public health officials know a little more about cases of E. Coli O157:H7 infections that are likely caused by Toll House cookie dough products. Here are some highlights from a CDC Press Release issued Monday:

  • 70 persons infected with a strain of E. Coli O157:H7 with a particular DNA fingerprint have been reported in 30 states.
  • Early investigation shows that most ill patients reported eating refrigerated prepackaged Nestle Toll House cookie dough products raw.
  • Ill persons range from 2 years old to 65 years; 66% of ill consumers are younger than 19 years of age.
  • 30 people have been hospitalized, and 7 of those patients have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which can cause serious kidney damage.

First Lawsuit is Out of the Oven. On Monday, a lawsuit was filed against Nestle by an 18-year-old California woman who claims that she was hospitalized for one week after eating Toll House cookie dough in May, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

"Jillian Collins said she suffered painful abdominal cramps, nausea and bloody diarrhea after eating chocolate-chip cookie dough in May. She spent a week at Stanford Medical Center and was released in time for her graduation at Sequoia High School in Redwood City," the Chronicle reports.

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