Header graphic for print
Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

Another Sprout Outbreak – Time to use www.outbreakdatabase.com

The Outbreak

CDC is collaborating with public health officials in many states and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to investigate a multistate outbreak of Salmonella serotype Newport infections linked to the consumption of raw alfalfa sprouts. Investigators are using DNA analysis of Salmonella bacteria obtained through diagnostic testing to identify cases of illness that may be part of this outbreak.

On May 21, 2010, a total of 22 individuals infected with a matching strain of Salmonella Newport have been reported from 10 states since March 1, 2010. 11 people were sickened in California, two were sickened in Nevada and two were sickened in Wisconsin. Arizona, Oregon, Idaho, Illinois, Missouri, New Mexico and Colorado each had one person sickened, the CDC said. The illnesses began between March 1 and May 2 and six people were hospitalized.

Among those for whom information is available about when symptoms started, illnesses began between March 1, 2010 and May 2, 2010. Case-patients range in age from <1 to 57 years old, and the median age is 26 years. Fifty-five percent of patients are female. Among the 20 patients with available hospitalization information, 6 (30%) were hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.

The Recall

  • This recall affects raw alfalfa sprouts packaged and labeled as: Caldwell Fresh Foods alfalfa sprouts – 4-ounce plastic cups and one pound plastic bags and in 2-pound and 5-pound plastic bags in cardboard boxes with sticker affixed with the printed words “Caldwell Fresh Foods”; Nature’s Choice alfalfa sprouts – 4-ounce plastic cups; California Exotics brands alfalfa sprouts – 5-ounce plastic clamshell containers. No other alfalfa sprouts are implicated in the outbreak.
  • The recalled products have been linked to an outbreak of Salmonella Newport infections in consumers in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Missouri, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, and Wisconsin.
  • The sprouts were distributed to a variety of restaurants, delicatessens and retailers, including Trader Joe’s and Wal-Mart stores.

Salmonella is a bacterium that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems.  For a bit(e) of history of sprout outbreaks, both E. coli and Salmonella, see www.outbreakdatabase.com.  Also, keep reading about a few too many past outbreaks:

Since 1990, raw or slightly cooked sprouts have caused an estimated 2,166 illnesses, through 33 outbreaks (actually – 37 outbreaks, 2,273 illnesses). The U.S. Food and Drug Administration estimates that sprout-link outbreaks account for 40 per cent of all food-borne illness associated with produce.

Year Type Pathogen Cases Location

1990 Alfalfa S. Anatum 15 US
1995 Alfalfa S. Stanley 128 US
1995 Alfalfa S. Newport 133 US/CAN
1995 Alfalfa S. Newport 69 US
1996 Alfalfa S. Stanley 30 US
1996 Alfalfa S. Montevideo and S. Meleagridis 650 US
1997 Alfalfa S. Infantis and S. Anatum 109 US
1997 Alfalfa E. coli O157:H7 108 US
1997 Alfalfa S. Senftenberg 60 US
1997 Alfalfa S. Meleagridis 78 CAN
1998 Alfalfa S. Havana 40 US
1998 Alfalfa E. coli O157:NM 8 US
1999 Alfalfa S. Mbandaka 83 US
1999 Alfalfa S. Typhimurium 119 US
1999 Alfalfa S. Muenchen 61 US
1999 Alfalfa S. paratyphi B var java 51 CAN
1999 Alfalfa Salmonella spp. 34 US
1999 Alfalfa S. Muenchen 38 US
1999 Clover S. Saintpaul 36 US
2000 Mung S. Enteritidis 75 US
2000 Mung S. Enteritidis 12 CAN
2001 Alfalfa S. Kottbus 32 US
2001 Alfalfa Salmonella spp. 22 US
2001 Mung S. Enteritidis 84 CAN
2002 Alfalfa E. coli O157:H7 7 US
2003 Alfalfa S. Saintpaul 9 US
2003 Alfalfa S. Chester 26 US
2003 Alfalfa E. coli O157:H7 7 US
2003 Alfalfa S. Saintpaul 16 US
2003 Alfalfa E. coli O157:NM 13 US
2004 Alfalfa Salmonella spp. 12 US
2005 Alfalfa E. coli O157:H7 1 US
2005 Mung Salmonella spp. 648 CAN
2006 Bean S. Braenderup 4 US
2008 Alfalfa S. Typhimurium 13 US
2009 Alfalfa S. Saintpaul 6 US
2009 Alfalfa S. Saintpaul 14 (and growing) US

  • Gil

    I think it’s wonderful how these kinds of outbreaks are being prevented before they make people sick. (sarcasm)