Evergreen Produce Sprouts Linked to Salmonella Poisoning Outbreak

Sprouts sold under the Evergreen Produce label are suspected of causing a salmonella food poisoning outbreak that has sickened people in at least five states. 

The FDA issued a warning about potential Evergreen Produce alfalfa sprouts and spicy sprouts salmonella contamination on June 27, urging consumers not to eat them. However, the agency did not say that there had been an Evergreen Produce sprouts recall issued by the manufacturer.

The sprouts are suspected of causing at least 20 illnesses, including one hospitalization, in an outbreak that includes victims from Idaho, Montana, New Jersey, North Dakota and Washington state.

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The strain has been identified as Salmonella Enteritidis, which the FDA says rarely strikes with this frequency. However, the FDA cautioned that it is not the same strain that struck across Europe recently killing more than 40 people.

Alfalfa sprouts sold in 4-ounce, 16-ounce, 1 pound and 5 pound plastic bags are included by the warning. It also affects spicy sprouts sold in 4-ounce and 1 pound plastic bags. Both the alfalfa sprouts and spicy sprouts were labeled “Evergreen Produce” or “Evergreen Produce, Inc.”

According to the FDA, the sprouts are known to have been distributed in Idaho, Montana and Washington state, but the agency cautioned that the sprouts may have been sold in neighboring states as well.

Typically, the FDA announces a recall in conjunction with the manufacturer of a recalled food product, but in this case the FDA did not announce a recall, nor did it state that it was working with the manufacturer.

The FDA recommends that consumers not eat any alfalfa sprouts or spicy sprouts carrying the Evergreen Produce label and also recommends that anyone who has the affected sprouts throw them away in a sealed container to prevent people and animals from consuming them. Any consumers who suspect they may have become ill from eating the sprouts should consult with their health care provider.

Salmonella is a type of bacteria that attacks the gastrointestinal tract, causing mild to severe food poisoning. For most healthy adults, symptoms of food poisoning from salmonella typically resolve after a few days or weeks. However, young children, the elderly, and individuals with compromised immune systems have an increased risk of suffering severe food poisoning after ingesting the bacteria. If not properly treated, some cases of salmonella food poisoning can lead to hospitalization, dehydration or death.

The salmonella outbreak is the 30th known food poisoning outbreak linked to contaminated sprouts since 1996, according to the FDA. In most cases the food poisoning incidents were linked to raw or lightly cooked sprouts and were caused by salmonella or E. coli. In order to reduce the chances of food poisoning, the FDA recommends that consumers cook sprouts thoroughly and request that raw sprouts not be added to their food.

The FDA and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are still investigating the outbreak in conjunction with state health agencies in the affected states.

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