FDA Finds Possible Link Between Evergreen Sprouts and Salmonella Outbreaks

Agency advises consumers not to eat raw sprouts labeled “Evergreen Produce.”

The FDA is warning consumers not to eat alfalfa sprouts or spicy sprouts from plastic bags labeled “Evergreen Produce” or “Evergreen Produce Inc.” because of possible links to salmonella.

Consumption of the sprouts is tied to 20 reported cases, including one hospitalization, of Salmonella Enteritidis in Idaho, Montana, New Jersey, North Dakota and Washington. The strain of S. Enteritidis is rarely seen at this frequency.

The pathogen associated with this outbreak is different from the pathogen associated with the outbreak in Europe.

Consumers, retailers and others who have alfalfa sprouts or spicy sprouts in plastic bags with such labeling should discard them in a sealed container so people and animals, including wild animals, cannot eat them. To date, the FDA is aware of distribution in Idaho, Montana and Washington State.

Consumers who think they may have become ill from eating possibly contaminated sprouts should consult their health care providers. The elderly, infants and those with impaired immune systems are more likely to have a severe illness from Salmonella infection.

Sprouts are a known source of foodborne illness. Since 1996, there have been at least 30 reported outbreaks of foodborne illness associated with different types of raw and lightly cooked sprouts. Most of these outbreaks were caused by Salmonella and E. coli.

The FDA advises that children, the elderly, pregnant women, and persons with weakened immune systems should avoid eating raw sprouts of any kind (including alfalfa, clover, radish and mung bean sprouts). To reduce the chance of foodborne illness, FDA advises consumers to cook sprouts thoroughly and to request raw sprouts not be added to your food.

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