FDA issues warning after 31 sick with Salmonella linked to sprouts
Posted: April 26th, 2009 - 6:57pm by Doug Powell
Maybe the folks at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration are busy with swine flu, but the timing of the latest raw sprouts advisory is a bit wonky.
Oh, and I’m to stress that it is only alfalfa sprouts making people barf, or at least that’s what industry told the FDA during a conference call yesterday afternoon. Not sure why it took FDA over 24 additional hours to warn consumers but …
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today recommended that consumers not eat raw alfalfa sprouts, including sprout blends containing alfalfa sprouts, until further notice because the product has been linked to Salmonella serotype Saintpaul contamination.
Other types of sprouts have not been implicated at this time.??? ???The investigation indicates that the problem may be linked to contamination of seeds for alfalfa sprouts. Because suspect lots of seeds may be sold around the country and may account for a large proportion of the alfalfa seeds currently being used by sprout growers, and cases of illness are spread across multiple states, FDA and CDC are issuing this general advisory.??????
FDA will work with the alfalfa sprout industry to help identify which seeds and alfalfa sprouts are not connected with this contamination, so that this advisory can be changed as quickly as possible.
CDC, FDA and six State and local authorities have associated this outbreak with eating raw alfalfa sprouts. Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Utah, and West Virginia have reported 31 cases of illness with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Saintpaul to CDC. Most of those who became ill reported eating raw alfalfa sprouts. Some reported eating raw sprouts at restaurants; others reported purchasing the raw sprouts at the retail level.
The CDC and FDA recommend at all times that persons at high risk for complications, such as the elderly, young children, and those with compromised immune systems, not eat raw sprouts because of the risk of contamination with Salmonella or other bacteria.
Chapman updated our chart of sprout-related outbreaks. It’s available at http://www.foodsafety.ksu.edu/en/article-details.php?a=2&c=6&sc=36&id=865