Sprouts Linked to Salmonella Outbreak in 5 States

Sprouts are now being fingered as the culprit in food contamination outbreaks on both sides of the Atlantic.

In this country, as USA Today reports, authorities say that salmonella linked to alfalfa sprouts has sickened 21 people in five states since April 12, sending three people to the hospital.

Europe has struggled in recent weeks with a separate, unrelated outbreak of E. Coli that originated in Germany and is blamed for 48 deaths and more than 3,800 illnesses. Officials there blame tainted vegetable sprouts and shoots from an organic farm near Hamburg, says Reuters.

The U.S. contamination case is thought to stem from alfalfa and spicy sprouts, a mix of alfalfa, clover and radish, from Evergreen Produce in Moyie Springs, Idaho. The Food and Drug Administration has warned against eating sprouts from the producer, although Evergreen’s owner says the agency has “absolutely no documentation” to back its contention.

Salmonella cases tied by federal authorities to Evergreen have been reported in Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, New Jersey and Washington state.

According to the FDA, people who get salmonella can suffer diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after exposure and can be sick four to seven days. While most people recover without treatment, in rare cases salmonella is deadly.

The FDA said that sprouts repeatedly have been a source of food-borne illnesses. Since 1996, FDA has linked at least 30 outbreaks, mostly of salmonella and E. coli, to raw and lightly cooked sprouts.

As a British public health expert told Reuters earlier this week, “I know a lot of people like raw sprouting seeds, but if you want them then you’ve got to decide whether or not you’re prepared to take the risk.”

STUART SILVERSTEIN

Related Post:
Europe’s E. Coli Death Toll Rises to 47

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