Nestle USA's Baking Divisionsaid Wednesday that it will begin using heat-treated flour in the manufacture of its Nestle Toll House refrigerated cookie dough.
"Consistent with our quality standards for Nestle Toll House refrigerated cookie dough, this change will only further enhance the safety of our products," said Paul Bakus, general manager, Nestle USA Baking Group.
Nestle USA voluntarily recalled refrigerated cookie dough in June 2009 after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control began investigating reported E. coli O157:H7 illnesses related to consumption of raw cookie dough.
Nestle said it relaunched the product in August of 2009 following a thorough investigation at the company's Danville, Va., plant and implementation of a "best-in-class" testing protocol. Officials said this new quality assurance protocol includes (1) testing ingredients before they enter the facility, (2) rigorous environmental sampling throughout the facility, and (3) testing finished product before shipping.
On January 11, 2010, Nestle said it informed the FDA that two samples of Nestle Toll House refrigerated cookie dough manufactured in Danville did not pass this rigorous protocol and had tested positive for E. coli O157:H7.
Consistent with the company's quality assurance protocol, officials note that none of the finished product involved ever left the factory or entered the supply chain, and none was shipped to customers. Product currently on store shelves displaying the "New Batch" sticker is not affected, and no product is being recalled.
Nestle said it will converted to heat-treated flour effective January 13 and noted that the shift will result in a temporary suspension of production. Production with the new ingredient will begin the week of January 25, and the product will begin to appear on grocery store shelves in early March.
"We have informed the FDA of our plans and will continue to cooperate with them," said Bakus. "In addition to converting to heat-treated flour, we also plan to continue our rigorous protocol of testing ingredients and finished product. While we are pleased our quality assurance protocols are working, we are taking these steps to further ensure the quality of our products."