July 1, 2011 / 9:06 PM / 8 years ago

Sprouts tied to 5-state Salmonella outbreak recalled

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A company producing sprouts announced a voluntary recall of alfalfa sprouts and spicy sprouts linked to a multi-state outbreak of Salmonella infections, the FDA reported on Friday.

Idaho-based Evergreen Fresh Sprouts, LLC recalled the sprouts distributed in Washington and Idaho due to potential contamination connected to a Salmonella outbreak reported in 5 states.

“While no samples of Evergreen sprouts have tested positive for Salmonella at this time, epidemiological evidence indicates that Evergreen Produce Alfalfa Sprouts and Spicy Sprouts are the common food eaten by the people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella enteritidis,” a FDA statement said.

The FDA reported that tests of Evergreen sprouts are still pending.

The outbreak of Salmonella Enteritidis has caused 21 reported cases as of June 27, including three hospitalizations, in Idaho, Montana, New Jersey, North Dakota and Washington, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

On Monday U.S. health regulators advised people not to eat alfalfa or spicy sprouts under the Evergreen Produce brand as they investigated a possible link to the salmonella outbreak.

The five-state outbreak may be linked to sprouts sold in plastic bags labeled “Evergreen Produce” or “Evergreen Produce Inc,” according to the CDC.

Evergreen Fresh Sprouts LLC could not immediately be reached for comment.

The U.S. Salmonella outbreak is not linked to Europe’s recent foodborne illnesses involving sprouts.

Raw or lightly cooked sprouts have been linked to at least 30 reported U.S. outbreaks of foodborne illnesses since 1996, mostly salmonella and E. coli, according to the FDA.

Salmonella infection is the most common U.S. foodborne illness. The infection commonly causes diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps in the first few days after eating a contaminated product.

It is linked to contaminated meats, produce and processed foods, and continues to strike the country as often as it did 15 years ago. Last year, it caused nearly 2,300 hospitalizations and 29 deaths. One outbreak led to a recall of nearly half a billion eggs.

Writing by Molly O'Toole; Editing by Greg McCune

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