Organic Alfalfa Sprout Recall Issued Over Risk of Listeria Infection

Specialty Farms alfalfa sprouts are being pulled from store shelves in six states after a package was found to be contaminated with Listeria, which could cause a serious and potentially life-threatening illness. 

The alfalfa sprout recall was announced on July 23 by the FDA after a laboratory analysis found Listeria Monocytogenes in a retail package. The Specialty Farms organic alfalfa sprouts were sold in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania and Vermont, but there have been no reports of food poisoning associated with the Listeria contamination.

The recall affects 4-ounce Specialty Farms Organic Alfalfa Sprouts Blend with a UPC code of 8912400108, and 4-ounce Specialty Farms Organic Sprout Salad with a UPC code of 8192400024. Both have a sell-by date of 7/26/2010. Products dated after this are not included in the recall.

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The packages were distributed to Cooseman’s NY, a distributor, and were sold at Price Chopper stores. Specialty Farms is still attempting to determine the source of the Listeria food contamination.

Listeria infections, also known as listeriosis, pose a particular risk for children, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems. For pregnant women, illness from Listeria bacteria can cause miscarriages and still births. The fatality rate associated with listeriosis is about 25%.

This is the third alfalfa sprout recall in a little over a year. In May, a salmonella outbreak from alfalfa sprouts lead to a recall in 10 states after at least 22 people became ill. In April 2009, an outbreak of Salmonella saintpaul led to a SunSprout alfalfa sprout recall. That outbreak is believed to have sickened about 150 people nationwide. The illnesses and an investigation by the FDA and U.S. Centers for Disease, Control and Prevention (CDC) led to concerns by federal regulators that there were contaminated seeds being sold to growers nationwide, resulting in a health advisory.

The FDA recommends that any consumers who purchased recalled packages of Specialty Farms alfalfa sprouts return them to the point of purchase for a full refund.


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