New Salmonella outbreak spurs another sprout recall

Jan 4, 2011 (CIDRAP News) – Another company has recalled sprouts after a foodborne illness investigation linked them to a half dozen cases so far in Oregon and Washington, this time involving Salmonella Newport.

The Washington State Department of Health (WSDH) said yesterday that the outbreak has sickened four people in Washington and two in Oregon, according to a press release. The Washington patients are from four counties, mostly in the western part of the state. None were hospitalized.

Oregon health officials said no hospitalizations or deaths related to the outbreak have been reported and that illnesses began between Dec 4 and 17.

Dr Mel Kohn, head of the Oregon Public Health Division (OPHD), said the two Oregon cases both occurred in Bend and are linked tosprouts served at Jimmy John's restaurants, the Salem-based Statesman Journal reported today.

In December an Illinois company recalled its sprouts after investigators suggested they might have been the source of a Salmonella I 4,[5],12:i:- outbreak that had sickened 94 people in 16 states by Dec 28. About half of the cases were in Illinois residents, many of whom ate sprouts in sandwiches at Jimmy John's restaurants.

In the latest sprout-related outbreak, Sprouters Northwest, Inc., based in Kent, Wash., yesterday announced that on Jan 1 it recalled all of its clover and clover mix sprouts after it learned that a few Salmonella infections might be linked to its products. The products were distributed to retail chains and wholesalers in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Alaska.

The OPHD said in a news release yesterday that the sprouts were also sold in British Columbia and possibly other US states and that larger packages were sold to grocery stores and wholesalers, which then sold them to restaurants and other outlets.

Recalled clover sprout products include 4-ounce and 5-ounce containers, 1-pound bags, and 2-pound trays. Other varieties that are subject to the recall include clover onion sprouts (4- and 5-ounce containers), deli sprouts (4- and 5-ounce containers), spicy sprouts (4-ounce containers), and Brocco sandwich sprouts (4-ounce containers). The products have a "best by" date of Jan 16 or earlier.

Dr William Keene, senior epidemiologist at the OPHD, warned in the statement about the danger of eating sprouts. "This is at least the thirteenth sprout-caused outbreak that has sickened Oregonians since 1995, when we first started warning consumers about the risks of eating sprouts," he said." Anyone concerned about foodborne disease should consider this before eating sprouts."

Sprouters Northwest said it is cooperating fully with state and federal investigators looking for the source of the contamination and has stopped producing sprouts during the probe.

See also:

Jan 3 FDA recall notice

Jan 3 WSDH news release

Jan 3 OPHD news release

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