Nestle USA’s Baking Division announced last week that it will begin using heat-treated flour in the manufacture of its Nestle Toll House refrigerated cookie dough. On January 11, 2010 Nestle informed the FDA that two samples of Nestle Toll House refrigerated cookie dough manufactured at its Danville, Virginia facility did not pass this rigorous protocol, and had tested positive for E. coli O157:H7. Consistent with our quality assurance protocol, the finished product involved never left our factory or entered the supply chain, and none was shipped to customers.

Nearly seven months earlier,on June 18, 2009, the CDC announced that 65 persons infected with a strain of E. coli O157:H7 with a particular DNA fingerprint have been reported from 29 states. Of these, 23 have been confirmed by an advanced DNA test as having the outbreak strain; these confirmatory test results are pending on the others. The number of ill persons identified in each state is as follows: Arkansas (1), Arizona (2), California (2), Colorado (5), Delaware (1), Hawaii (1), Iowa (2), Illinois (5), Kentucky (1), Massachusetts (4), Maryland (2), Maine (3), Minnesota (5), Missouri (2), Montana (1), North Carolina (1), New Hampshire (2), New Jersey (1), Nevada (2), Ohio (4), Oklahoma (1), Oregon (1), Pennsylvania (2), South Carolina (1), Texas (3), Utah (2), Virginia (2), Washington (5), and Wisconsin (1).

Ill persons range in age from 2 to 57 years; however, more than 70% are less than 19 years old and none are over 60 years old; 75% are female. Twenty-five persons have been hospitalized, 7 developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS).