E.coli Cases Linked to Cookie Dough

E.coli Cases Linked to Cookie Dough

Jun 19, 2009

Five E. coli 0517:H7 cases linked to cookie dough in Washington State

Community urged to throw out or return recalled product


The Spokane Regional Health District is urging people to check their refrigerators and to throw out any Nestle Toll House prepackaged, refrigerated cookie dough. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are warning consumers not to eat any varieties of prepackaged Nestle Toll House refrigerated cookie dough due to the risk of contamination with E. coli O157:H7 (a bacterium that causes food borne illness).

"E. coli O157:H7 infection can be very serious," says Dr. Joel McCullough, Health Officer for the Spokane Regional Health District. "We want people to throw this product out, or take it back for a refund."

Cooking the dough is not recommended because consumers might get the bacteria on their hands and on other cooking surfaces. Retailers, restaurateurs, and personnel at other food-service operations should not sell or serve any Nestle Toll House prepackaged, refrigerated cookie dough products subject to the recall.

The warning is based on an ongoing epidemiological study conducted by the CDC and several state and local health departments. Since March 2009, there have been 66 reports of illness across 28 states. Twenty-five persons were hospitalized; seven with a severe complication called Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS). No one has died.

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.

People who have eaten prepackaged, refrigerated Toll House cookie dough within the last 2 weeks and who have had any of these symptoms should contact their doctor or health care provider immediately. Any such illnesses should be reported to state or local health authorities.

People should not eat raw food products that are intended for cooking or baking before consumption. Consumers should use safe food-handling practices when preparing such products, including following package directions for cooking at proper temperatures; washing hands, surfaces, and utensils after contact with these types of products; avoiding cross contamination; and refrigerating products properly. For more information on safe food handling practices, go to http://www.fda.gov/Food/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/ucm109899.htm.

Consumers who have additional questions about these products should contact Nestle consumer services at 1-800-559-5025 and/or visit their website at www.verybestbaking.com

Click here for a complete listing of the recalled products.

The Spokane Regional Health District has been promoting and protecting the health of the citizens of Spokane for 37 years. For more information visit our Food Safety page.