Nestlé Refused FDA Records Requests

Associated Press
Saturday, June 27, 2009

Inspection reports from a Nestlé USA cookie dough factory released yesterday show the company declined several times in the past five years to provide Food and Drug Administration inspectors with complaint logs, pest-control records and other information.

The records, which date to 2004, were made public after Nestlé's Toll House refrigerated, prepackaged cookie dough was discovered to be the likely culprit in an E. coli outbreak that has sickened 69 people in 29 states, according to the latest estimates from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC and the FDA are investigating the outbreak.

According to the reports released by the FDA, the company declined to allow agency investigators access to certain documents in at least 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007.

FDA spokeswoman Stephanie Kwisnek said the Glendale, Calif., unit of Switzerland-based Nestlé SA had the right to do so. "Companies have the right to make conditions on what they will or will not permit during an inspection," she said.

However, the FDA can force a company to comply if public health is at stake.

In a statement, Nestlé said that it rejects any implication that it did not cooperate with the FDA and that it provided all information required under law, adding that its practices are standard within the food industry.

"Nestlé always fully cooperates with the regulatory authorities wherever it operates, and Nestlé is fully cooperating with the Food and Drug Administration at our Danville, Virginia plant in this matter," the company said.

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