On June 27, 2011 the CDC reported a total of 21 persons with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Enteritidis from 5 states: Idaho (3), Montana (7), North Dakota (1), New Jersey (1) and Washington (9). The CDC further said that investigative efforts of local, state, and federal public health and regulatory agencies have linked this outbreak to Evergreen Produce brand alfalfa sprouts and spicy sprouts. The sprouts were distributed to various customers in Idaho, Montana, Washington State, and possibly to retailers in neighboring states.
On the same day the FDA then took the step of issuing the following warning:
• The FDA is warning consumers not to eat alfalfa sprouts or spicy sprouts from plastic bags labeled “Evergreen Produce” or “Evergreen Produce Inc.”
• The sprouts are possibly linked to 20 reported cases, including one hospitalization, of Salmonella Enteritidis in Idaho, Montana, New Jersey, North Dakota and Washington State.
• The elderly, infants and those with impaired immune systems are more likely to have a severe illness from Salmonella infection.
• Consumers, retailers and others who have alfalfa sprouts or spicy sprouts in plastic bags labeled “Evergreen Produce” or “Evergreen Produce Inc.” should discard them in a sealed container so people and animals, including wild animals, cannot eat them.
Although asked by the FDA to recall its sprouts, Evergreen Produce has thus far refused to despite the epidemiologic link to 21 illnesses. In the past (pre-FSMA), the FDA could request a recall, but not mandate one. It has been four days since the CDC’s outbreak announcement and four days since the FDA warning. However, to date the FDA has been silent on if it will use its mandatory recall authority or not.
I certainly may be wrong, but I think this is the first time post-FSMA that the FDA has asked for a recall and been refused. It will be interesting to see if the FDA moves forward with its newly acquired recall powers or not. Either way, SOMEONE should ask the FDA, why or why not recall? Is there anyone in the real press still out there?
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