Woman Sues Nestle for Toll House Cookie Dough Food Poisoning

A Northern California woman is suing Nestle USA for food poisoning she says she developed after eating Toll House cookie dough that was contaminated with E. coli, a potentially deadly strain of bacteria.

Jillian Collins, 18, of San Carlos, says she developed nausea, stomach cramps, and bloody diarrhea in May 2009 just days after she ate raw Toll House chocolate-chip cookie dough. Collins reportedly ate between one quarter and one half of the raw cookie dough she prepared before baking some of the dough into cookies for family members.

She was hospitalized for about a week due to the symptoms of food poisoning but has since recovered, her suit claims.

Illnesses Reported Nationwide

About 70 people in 30 states reportedly have fallen ill after eating Nestle Toll House brand refrigerated, prepackaged cookie dough products raw. About 300,000 units of the food products were recalled last week after the Food and Drug Administration announced it had received reports of consumers becoming ill with food poisoning after eating them raw.

Collins’ suit is believed to be the first such lawsuit filed against Nestle for the Toll House cookie dough recall.

Nestle officials, who caution that uncooked cookie dough should never be eaten due to risks of contamination with foodborne bacteria such as E. coli, declined to comment on Collins’ suit, according to published reports.

“We haven’t reviewed the suit so can offer no comment on it,” said Nestle spokeswoman Laurie MacDonald. “But we’re obviously very concerned about those who have become ill and also grateful to know that they are recovering.”

Collins said she bought the cookie dough just before Memorial Day weekend at a Safeway grocery store near her home in Belmont. She ate some of the raw dough on May 20 and May 22 then became ill on May 25, according to her lawsuit.

The next day, the severe pain and other gastrointestinal symptoms forced Collins to go to an urgent care center for treatment. She was taken in an ambulance to Stanford Medical Center, where E. coli contamination was confirmed through a biopsy, her suit states.

Officials have not said how some of the prepackaged Toll House cookie dough may have been contaminated with the E. coli 0157 strain.

MacDonald, the Nestle spokeswoman, said the strain of E. coli strain “has not been detected in our products, and we continue to cooperate fully with the FDA investigators who have traveled to our facility in Danville, Va., to better understand our operations there.”

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