KANSAS CITY, Mo.—A massive recall in 2019 cost Nestle USA Inc. a lot of dough.
Now, Nestle has filed a lawsuit against Great Western Manufacturing, a U.S.-based producer of sifters, alleging that a defect in its machines had led to rubber contamination in the Nestle Toll House cookie dough products.
In a May 17 suit filed with the U.S. District Court of Kansas, the food and beverage major alleged that an industrial hose within a flour sifter, installed at its Danville factory in 2012, caused the problem.
Nestle said between Sept. 30 and Oct. 24, 2019, it received seven complaints from consumers who reported finding pieces of rubber approximately 1.5 millimeters thick in its ready-to-bake refrigerated cookie dough products.
Investigating the issue, Nestle said the outlet hose in the sifter—a Gates 5-inch, 610-watt hose—was the source of the rubber contamination in the products.
The hose, it said, "had delaminated, meaning pieces of the inner rubber layer from the hose tubing had peeled off and contaminated the flour."
The hose, Nestle claimed, delaminated as a result of a defect in the Great Western Sifter, adding that the defect "existed at the time of Great Western's sale of the sifter."
The Swiss-headquartered group said the issue led to a recall of 2.25 million cases of cookie dough in October 2019, incurring "substantial damages" as a direct result of the equipment failure.
Nestle said it had to destroy unusable inventory, refund and credit customers for unusable inventory it had sold, and incur additional expenses to restore inventories.