DENVER–The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is urging Coloradans not to eat raw Nestle Toll House cookie dough because of possible contamination with E. coli O157:H7.

Colorado state health officials, the CDC and several other state health departments are investigating an outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 infections. To date, 66 cases from 28 states have been identified. Preliminary evidence from the multi-state investigation suggests that Nestle Toll House cookie dough may be the source of the outbreak, although further investigation is ongoing.

Five cases have been reported in Colorado in the following counties: Denver, Douglas (2), Jefferson and Weld. Two of the people have been hospitalized, and one has developed a severe complication called hemolytic uremic syndrome. Of the four people interviewed so far by the state health department, all had consumed the raw cookie dough during the week before they became ill.

Alicia Cronquist, the foodborne disease epidemiologist at the state health department, said, “We can’t be certain that raw cookie dough is the source of these infections, but we are concerned enough that it might be and want consumers to be aware.”

Daniel Rifkin, Wholesale Food Program manager for the Department of Public Health and Environment’s Consumer Protection Division, said, “Nestle is currently evaluating what actions they will take regarding their product. In the meantime, it is important that consumers do not eat or use raw Nestle Toll House cookie dough for now. If you decide to use the product, ensure that the cookies are cooked thoroughly and wash your hands well after handling the raw dough. More information will be forthcoming.”

  • John Munsell

    Could someone take a stab at theorizing how raw cookie dough, in several states, could have been infected with bacteria emanating from animal intestines, or from manure-covered hides? John Munsell

  • You’d have to think its related to the use of eggs in cookie dough batter. Although, I’m not aware of how this strain of e.coli would make its way into eggs themselves. Maybe from animal feces at an egg processing plant, the shells could become contaminated and somehow get mingled into the final product.
    Too many variables…need to wait for a full investigation.