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Local grocers move quickly in cookie dough recall

By David R. Corder

The Villages Daily Sun

June 23, 2009

THE VILLAGES — Grocers in The Villages reacted quickly to Nestl/ USA’s voluntary recall of bacteria-tainted Toll House cookie dough.

Every Publix, Sweetbay and Winn-Dixie supermarket in the community pulled the product Friday from the shelves in response to the Glendale, Calif.-based company’s voluntary recall on fears that the product contained a form of an E. coli bacteria known to cause death in extreme situations.

While there were no reported outbreaks in Florida as of Monday afternoon, the Centers for Disease Control urged all families with senior citizens and the very young to dispose of any Toll House cookie dough stored in refrigerators or freezers.

Anyone who contracts this form of food-borne bacterium risks developing a complication known as hemolytic uremic syndrome, CDC spokeswoman Lola Russell said.

“People of any age can become infected with (E. coli),” Russell said. But the very young and the elderly are more likely to develop the most serious forms of HUS.”

The syndrome poses the potential for severe kidney damage, Russell said.

“HUS is linked with kidney failure,” he said. “It’s very life-threatening.”

Symptoms may include abdominal cramping, vomiting and diarrhea, the CDC reported.

However, symptoms of HUS can be as slight as decreased urination, fatigue and loss of body color in the face and around the eyes, Russell said.

“Anyone suspected of having HUS should be hospitalized, because their kidneys might stop working,” Russell said. “Most people with HUS will recover in full, but some might suffer permanent damage.”

The CDC attributed 65 diagnosed medical cases in 29 states to the contaminated cookie dough as of June 18. No deaths have been reported.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has started an investigation to determine what caused the contamination.

“The FDA is working with Nestle USA to ensure suspect products are removed from the supply chain and retail shelves,” FDA spokesman Michael Herndon said. “FDA personnel also are inspecting the producing facility, including examining records and production and safety procedures to determine how the problem occurred and how it can be prevented in the future.”

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