Nestle Toll House cookie outbreak victim: “I had major headaches, diarrhea and cramping.”

As the Nestle-linked E. coli O157:H7 outbreak unfolds in the upcoming days, stories about affected individuals highlighting the fallout will begin to appear. In the first one I have seen, the Oregonian reports that 15-year-old girl’s craving for a treat resulted in her and her fathers illness.

Melissa made the cookies in early May. While baking, she tasted some of the dough, which a lot of people do even though it is not supposed to be eaten before baking. Her dad, 37-year-old day, Mike Kitchens, stuck his finger into the bowl as well, picking out sweet chocolate bits. The two of them soon came down with cramping and diarrhea, typical symptoms of food poisoning. Mike recovered after about four days but Melissa continued to be severely ill.

Melissa was quoted as saying "It was hard for me to do my work, I’d call my friends, but I’d get hot and sweaty and my stomach would cramp up. I tried to deal with it, but it got too be too much so I couldn’t do anything. I had major headaches, diarrhea and cramping." She did manage to take all of her tests, but she suspects that she failed at least two finals which count heavily in overall grades.

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About Ben Chapman

Dr. Ben Chapman is a professor and food safety extension specialist at North Carolina State University. As a teenager, a Saturday afternoon viewing of the classic cable movie, Outbreak, sparked his interest in pathogens and public health. With the goal of less foodborne illness, his group designs, implements, and evaluates food safety strategies, messages, and media from farm-to-fork. Through reality-based research, Chapman investigates behaviors and creates interventions aimed at amateur and professional food handlers, managers, and organizational decision-makers; the gate keepers of safe food. Ben co-hosts a biweekly podcast called Food Safety Talk and tries to further engage folks online through Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and, maybe not surprisingly, Pinterest. Follow on Twitter @benjaminchapman.