Nestle GM Speaks Out About E. Coli
of Article: http://www.wset.com/news/stories/0809/647669.html
reporter: Sarah Bloom
producer: Amy Foster
VA - In eight days, Nestle says its refrigerated cookie dough will be
back on store shelves. The company recalled more than three million
packages two months ago after the FDA said the product was a potential
cause of an E.coli outbreak
On Friday, the General Manager spoke out for the first time
since the recall. Part of the conversation with ABC 13 was how this has
affected business since the FDA says E. coli sickened 70 people in 29
states, but another, more important part is how this recall has changed
their business practices.
General Manger of Nestle Baking, Paul Bakus said his initial
reaction when he heard about the E. coli investigation was, “it can't be
Still, Nestle officials decided to recall the dough, leaving 250 workers
in the Danville plant, to wonder if they'd continue working.
"In this economy and these times, that's the last thing we
wanted to do is shut our factory down and keep people from working. So it
was the right decision from the consumer's sake, but a tough one for the
employees," Bakus said.
Eventually, employees learned they could work some hours in the
pasta manufacturing half of the plant, while FDA officials scoured the
cookie dough side, looking for any evidence that an E. coli outbreak
"We went through the entire factory, tore it apart, cleaned
it, tore it apart, cleaned it," Danville plant manager Jan Harris
More then a thousand swabs later, Nestle says it still doesn't really
"We did find one package of our finished food cookie dough
that had e. coli, but it was not the same strain that made people sick. So,
we really don't know whether our packaging and our product was
responsible, but the reality is that it could have been," Bakus
That "could have" is s why Nestle says they've decided
to increase their testing. "On some of the inbound ingredients,
we're running 100 tests a day." Bakus said.
But those decisions didn't come cheaply. "We
estimate the cost to be around $30-50 million. But, it's not so much the
cost that I'm worried about, it's getting the product back on the shelves
and regaining consumer confidence."
Nestle Officials say the new dough has a blue "new
batch" burst label in the upper right hand corner of the packaging .
As for the Danville plant, we’re told employees are working
seven days a week to catch up on cookie production. It's led to the
creation of about 66 temporary jobs.
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