E. coli in Nestle cookie dough stumps FDA

Source of Article:  http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2009-06-23-cookie-ecoli_N.htm

By Elizabeth Weise, USA TODAY

Federal officials plan to stay in a Virginia food plant associated with a national food-borne outbreak "as long as it takes" to solve this mystery: How did E. coli O157:H7, most commonly associated with raw hamburger, get in refrigerated cookie dough?

"That's the $64,000 question," says David Acheson, the Food and Drug Administration's assistant commissioner for food safety.

RECALL: List of Nestle products pulled from shelves

The outbreak appears to be linked to consuming uncooked Nestlé refrigerated and frozen Toll House cookie dough products.

It has sickened 70 people nationwide, 30 of whom have been hospitalized, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. No one has died.

Nestlé has recalled all product produced at the plant and suspended operations there. But cookies made from refrigerated dough are safe to eat, Nestlé says. The company notes that the instructions "clearly state that the raw dough must be baked before consumption."

Theories on how E. coli got into the dough include cross-contamination or a sick worker, Acheson says. "For this particular bug, it doesn't take many (bacteria) to make you sick; 10 to 100 is enough."





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