by Marion Nestle
Jul 11 2009

The Cookie Dough mystery deepens

I’m in Alaska this week and out of Internet contact most of the time so it’s been hard to follow the cookie dough story.  It seems that the strain of E. coli found in the cookie dough does not match the strains in the people who have gotten ill from (presumably) eating it.  The FDA can’t figure out how E. coli got into the cookie dough.

When I can get to a computer, I like to check the FDA page on this outbreak, and also the one from the CDC.  But it looks like they are only updating the pages about once a week.  So the quickest way to keep current on this is through Bill Marler’s blog.

[Posted from Anchorage]

  • Marion – if you are coming through Seattle, let me take you to dinner? I promise no PCA Peanut Butter, JBS Beef or Nestle Cookie Dough.

    Regarding the multiple strain – PFGE and MLVA O157 patterns found in the stools of 74 people who ate Cookie Dough = strong evidence it is the Cookie Dough that sickened them. One left over packet from a home tested positive for O124. The retained sample in the plant tested positive for O157, but a different PFGE and MLVA pattern than the 74 people.

    It is not uncommon to have multiple patterns of E. coli in an outbreak. However, more products are being tested. I bet we see more positive samples in the week ahead.

    Travel safe.

  • Here is what I said yesterday on my blog:

    It is my understanding that E. coli O157:H7 found in the stools of the 72 people in 30 states (now 74 and 32) 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.

    I also posted the Plant 483.

  • Marion

    @Bill Marler–I’ll take you up on that offer any time! Starbucks wants me to visit them in Seattle. Maybe that would be a good excuse. Thanks for writing and keeping up with details. Most helpful!

    [Posted from Denali]