E. coli has been found in a sample of Nestlé Toll House refrigerated cookie dough, the US Food and Drug Administration has announced.

The FDA said further testing was need to “conclusively link” the strain found in the dough to that which has caused the outbreak in the US that has led to 69 cases of illness.

However, the news, announced yesterday (29 June), is the first definite link between Nestlé and the outbreak, which has affected people from 29 states.

The FDA said the sample of E. coli O157:H7 was collected at Nestlé’s facility in Danville, Virginia on 25 June.

Consumers have been warned not to eat Nestlé Toll House refrigerated cookie dough following tests conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and US health officials.

Some 34 people have been sent to hospital although no-one has yet been reported to have died.

Nestlé said it is working “closely and in full co-operation” with the FDA. “We are very concerned about those who have become ill from E. coli 0157:H7, and deeply regret that this has occurred,” the company said.