US: Salmonella outbreak linked to sprouts in five states
Posted: June 29th, 2011 - 10:49am
Source: USA Today
An outbreak of salmonella linked to alfalfa sprouts has sent three people to the hospital, and sickened 21 in five states since April 12 and appears to be ongoing, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports. The outbreak is not the same as the E. coli outbreak originating in sprouts in Germany and Europe which has sickened more than 823 people.
The outbreak is linked to alfalfa and spicy sprouts (a mix of alfalfa, clover and radish) from Evergreen Produce in Moyie Springs, Idaho. The Food and Drug Administration has issued a warning to the public to avoid eating sprouts from the producer as they may contain salmonella enteritidis, a strain of the bacteria often linked to human illness. Illnesses linked to sprouts from this producer have been reported in Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, New Jersey and Washington state.
"The elderly, infants and those with impaired immune systems are more likely to have a severe illness from salmonella infection," FDA said in a release.
Evergreen Produce owner Nadine Scharf says FDA has produced "absolutely no documentation that there is any kind of bacteria in our sprouts or in our building." The announcement has "really hurt us, we're a skeleton crew," she says. "They've about killed our business."
Scharf says the company tests its water three times a week and the sprouts "periodically." In addition, the military tests them quarterly because the company sells to the local base. She feels the announcement was made prematurely and that FDA should have waited until it had positive results from her product before naming her company.
Food safety officials make a determinations about what foods might be linked to a given outbreak based on epidemiological investigations, says CDC's Casey Barton Behravesh.