A sample of raw cookie dough taken from a Nestle USA manufacturing plant last week has tested positive for E. coli, the Food and Drug Administration said Monday.
The report marks the first time that the microbe linked to at least 69 cases of illness in 29 states has been found in a Nestle product since the FDA told the company it suspected consumers might have been exposed to the bacteria while eating the company's cookie dough in raw form.
Glendale-based Nestle USA, a unit of Switzerland's Nestle SA, has voluntarily recalled all Toll House refrigerated cookie dough products made at its Danville, Va., plant.
The tainted sample of dough was manufactured at the plant Feb. 10, the FDA said. The sample came from a 16-ounce Toll House refrigerated chocolate chip cookie dough bar. The product had a label saying, "Best before June 10 2009."
"We are very concerned about those who have become ill . . . and deeply regret that this has occurred," the company said in a statement.
Nestle also reiterated that consumers could return the recalled products to their grocers for full refunds.
The FDA said it was working with Nestle to find the source of the contamination.
E. coli is a potentially deadly germ that can cause bloody diarrhea, dehydration and, in the worst cases, kidney failure.
The company shut down production of cookie dough at the plant when it issued the recall but continues to manufacture pasta and pasta sauces in a separate area of the facility.