At least 54 people in five states have suffered from salmonella food poisoning that appears to be linked to alfalfa sprouts, onion sprouts and gourmet sprouts which have been recalled by SunSprout Enterprises, Inc. of Omaha, Nebraska.
A nationwide sprout recall was issued by SunSprout on March 3, 2009, after Nebraska state officials linked the sprouts to a Salmonella Saintpaul outbreak in Nebraska and Iowa. Since that time, additional cases involving illnesses caused by the same strain of the salmonella bacteria have been reported in Kansas, Missouri and South Dakota.
The SunSprout alfalfa sprouts, onion sprouts and other gourmet sprouts were sold directly to one retailer in Nebraska and seven distributors in Iowa and Nebraska, who sold the sprouts to a number of different restaurants and retail stores.
The sprouts were sold by retailers under the SunSprouts label in 4-ounce clear plastic clamshell containers with sell-by dates between March 2, 2009 and March 14, 2009. The lot numbers on the shipping case include 3102, 3202, 3302, 4102, 4202, and 4302.
Retail packages have a bar code of 815098001088 for Alfalfa Sprouts. The bar code for Onion Sprouts is 815098002054, and the bar code for Gourmet Sprouts is 817180000153.
SunSprout also sold Alfalfa Sprouts in bulk food service packs of 2.5-lb. and 5-lb. cases to restaurants and other food service locations.
Between February 2, 2009 and February 23, 2009, 25 cases of salmonellosis have been reported in Nebraska, 19 in Iowa, and 5 each in South Dakota and Kansas.
Salmonellosis is food poisoning caused by salmonella bacteria, which produces symptoms like diarrhea, fever, abdominal cramps, nausea and vomiting.
While most healthy adults recover from the illness within a few weeks, young children, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems could be more susceptible to severe food poisoning. If the bacteria enters the bloodstream, it could cause potentially life-threatening complications.
The Salmonella saintpaul strain of bacteria associated with this food poisoning outbreak Is the same strain that was linked to a nationwide salmonella outbreak last year which sickened over 1,200 people throughout the United States. That outbreak was ultimately linked to jalapeno and serrano peppers from Mexico.