Mr. E. coli (aka Brian Hartman) once again scoops all in the ongoing Cookie Dough caper. Here is part of his story:

Federal investigators have linked at least three different kinds of E. coli to Nestle’s cookie dough but remain stumped about how the bacteria got into the product, ABC News has learned.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has completed DNA testing of E. coli recently found in an unopened package of cookie dough at Nestle’s plant in Danville, Va.

Those tests, according to sources familiar with the investigation and confirmed by the FDA, determined the genetic fingerprint of the E. coli found at the plant is different than E. coli that has been linked to a 30-state outbreak that has sickened at least six dozen people.

Sources also say an altogether different strain of E. coli was found in dough recovered from the home of a victim, meaning at least three different types of E. coli have been found in cookie dough made by Nestle.

It is my understanding that E. coli O157:H7 found in the stools of the 72 people in 30 states share the same PFGE pattern (outbreak strain) and that 51 of those have been linked by advanced testing methods (MLVA). Interestingly, but not surprisingly (1), a separate E. coli O157:H7 PFGE pattern was found in a retained sample of Nestle Cookie Dough for in the Danville Plant.

In addition, one of our client’s (a Minnesota Family) leftover Cookie Dough tested positive for a separate Shiga-toxin E. coli – E. coli O124. However, both sick children tested positive for the outbreak strain.

(1)  Proctor ME, Kurzynski T, Koschmann C, et. al. Four strains of Escherichia coli O157:H7 isolated from patients during an outbreak of disease associated with ground beef: importance of evaluating multiple colonies from an outbreak-associated product.  J Clin Microbiol. 2002 Apr;40(4):1530-3.