Nestlé is facing a lawsuit over the recent E. coli outbreak which prompted its US baked goods unit to issue a full recall of its Toll House refrigerated cookie dough products last week.
 
A lawsuit has been filed in Superior Court in Fulton County, Georgia, on behalf of a seven-year-old Georgia girl who contracted E. coli after handling and baking Toll House cookies. The suit is being filed by two law firms, Neblett, Beard & Arsenault and McCain Cigelske.
 
“E. coli O157:H7 in any food product is unacceptable, but in cookies, it’s particularly problematic because many of the consumers are very young. They are a population that is particularly vulnerable to the most tragic consequences of the E .coli poisoning,” said food safety lawyer Richard Arsenault.
 
Neblett, Beard & Arsenault said it had been contacted by many victims associated with this outbreak and is gathering information through the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC ) and other health and safety organisations on behalf of their clients. Arsenault said his firm would continue to “investigate and carefully evaluate each and every contact we receive”.
 
According to CDC, some 70 people across 30 states were infected with E. coli 0157:H7 between March and June 2009, with most patients reporting to health investigators that they had come into contact with Nestlé Toll House cookie dough products.
 
While Nestlé issued a full recall last week, the company said it had not detected E. coli in Nestlé Toll House cookie dough products, which are distributed in the US, Puerto Rico, Bermuda, Bahrain and Singapore,
 
“CDC has ongoing investigation linking E. coli illness to consumption of raw cookie dough. The E. coli strain implicated in the CDC investigation has not been detected in our product but we’re very concerned about health and safety of our consumers. So we’ve temporarily stopped production and are working with FDA,” the company said last week.