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Products liability news: Contaminated cookie dough recall spreads

Kraft Heinz Company recently announced that it is joining an ever growing list of companies by voluntarily recalling its Weight Watchers Smart Ones Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Sundae product due to contamination from Listeria monocytogenes. It was discovered that the cookie dough used in this and other products distributed nationwide, including here in Pennsylvania, were contaminated at a manufacturing and processing plant owned and operated by Aspen Hills, Inc. This potential products liability issue has not resulted in any illnesses -- at least not that Kraft is aware of so far.

Blue Bell Creameries first discovered the contamination. It notified Aspen Hills, which did recall a portion of its cookie dough, but that might not have been enough. Aspen Hills refused to release its customer list, but did verify that the recalled dough was only sold to commercial food manufacturers. Other companies that are involved in this recall include Blue Bunny, House of Flavor and Nurtrisystem, along with Publix and Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream Company Inc. All of these companies voluntarily recalled products that contain the contaminated cookie dough.

Even if all of the potentially affected products are swiftly removed from the market, that does not mean that consumers will not be affected. It could take up to 70 days for consumers to exhibit symptoms of a Listeria infection. Young children, the elderly and those whose immune systems are compromised are most at risk of developing a fatal infection. In addition, stillbirths and miscarriages are possible for pregnant women who contract a Listeria infection.

Anyone here in Pennsylvania who purchased the Weight Watchers product being recalled, or a product from one of the other companies listed herein that contains cookie dough, should contact the company whose product was purchased to determine whether it is part of a recall. Further, contracting a Listeria infection that causes serious or fatal injuries could be grounds for a products liability claim against the company or companies responsible for the manufacturing, distribution and/or sale of the affected product. Consumers who find themselves in this situation would benefit from discussing the matter with an attorney.

Source: foodsafetynews.com, "UPDATED: Cookie dough recall hits Weight Watchers frozen desserts", Coral Beach, Nov. 15, 2016

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