Nestle recalls Toll House cookie dough products

Friday, June 19, 2009 | 1:15 p.m. CDT; updated 6:25 p.m. CDT, Sunday, July 12, 2009

NEW YORK — Nestle USA on Friday voluntarily recalled its Toll House refrigerated cookie dough products after a number of illnesses were reported by those who ate the dough raw.

The company said the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control are investigating reported E. coli illnesses that might be related to eating the dough.

In Missouri

Two cases of the same E. coli strain have been identified in Missouri, said Kit Wagar, Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services spokesman. A child in northwest Missouri and an adult in eastern Missouri have been interviewed by the department, but it has not confirmed that the cases are because of eating raw cookie dough, he said.

The investigation, which began in March, was prompted in part because the same strain of E. coli was identified in geographically distant places, Wagar said.

Bill Chrisco, a Schnucks employee, said the grocery store had pulled the Toll House products before the recall Friday. There had been speculation about a recall, so the store planned ahead, he said.

Tom Klucking, West Broadway HyVee store director, said the store has pulled the cookie dough from its shelves and has not received any complaints.

Lola Russell, a spokeswoman for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said she did not have a complete list of the states where cases have been reported, but she said 70 percent of the cases have been in people 19 or younger.

This is the first time this strain of E. coli has been associated with eating raw, packaged cookie dough, she said.

In a statement, the FDA said there have been 66 reports of illness across 28 states since March. About 25 people have been hospitalized, but no one has died.

The FDA advised consumers to throw away any prepackaged, refrigerated Nestle Toll House cookie dough products in their homes. Retailers, restauranteurs and employees at other food-service operations should also not sell or serve any of the products.

Nestle spokeswoman Roz O'Hearn said "this has been a very quickly moving situation," adding the company took action less than 24 hours after hearing of the problem.

O'Hearn said the company will "cooperate fully" with the FDA's investigation.

The recall includes refrigerated cookie bar dough, cookie dough tubs, cookie dough tubes, limited edition cookie dough items, seasonal cookie dough and Ultimates cookie bar dough. It extends to chocolate chip dough and other varieties, including gingerbread, sugar and peanut butter cookie dough. It does not affect any other Toll House products, including ice cream that contains Toll House raw cookie dough.

The FDA also said consumers should not try to cook the dough, even though eating cooked dough would be safe, because consumers might get bacteria on their hands and on counters and other cooking surfaces.

E. coli is a potentially deadly bacterium that can cause bloody diarrhea, dehydration and, in the most severe cases, kidney failure.


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