Sprouts: Today, according to CDC, a total of 17 persons infected with the outbreak strain of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli O121 (STEC O121) have been reported from five states. The number of ill persons identified in each state is as follows: Idaho (3), Michigan (1), Montana (2), Utah (1), and Washington (10). Forty-seven percent of ill persons have been hospitalized.
Because contaminated sprouts may still be available on the market, CDC recommends that consumers do not eat any raw clover sprouts produced by Evergreen Fresh Sprouts. The Washington State Department of Health and the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare are also advising people not to eat raw clover sprouts produced by Evergreen Fresh Sprouts.
Also, according to CDC, from April 12 to July 5, 2011, a total of 25 persons infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Enteritidis have been reported from five states. Results of the investigation indicate a link to eating alfalfa sprouts and spicy sprouts manufactured by Evergreen Fresh Sprouts. On July 1, 2011, Evergreen Fresh Sprouts LLC of Moyie Springs, Idaho, announced a recall of specific lots of alfalfa sprouts and spicy sprouts because these products have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella.
This year, FDA conducted an inspection of the Evergreen Fresh Sprouts facility on May 22-23, 2014; May 27-30, 2014; and June 6, 2014. During the inspection, FDA investigators observed a number of unsanitary conditions, including condensate and irrigation water dripping from rusty valves; a rusty and corroded mung bean room watering system; tennis rackets that had “scratches, chips, and frayed plastic” used to scoop mung bean sprouts; a pitchfork with corroded metal being used to transfer mung bean sprouts; and a squeegee with visible corroded metal and non-treated wood being used to agitate mung bean sprouts inside a soak vat.
Chia Seeds and Powder: The CDC reports today that as of June 9, 2014, a total of 21 ill persons infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella Newport (13 persons), Salmonella Hartford (6 persons), or Salmonella Oranienburg (2 persons) have been reported from 12 states. The number of ill persons identified in each state is as follows: Arizona (1), California (3), Colorado (1), Connecticut (3), Florida (1), Massachusetts (1), Michigan (1), New York (4), Ohio (1), Utah (1), Washington (1), and Wisconsin (3). Two ill persons infected with a strain of Salmonella Oranienburg have been identified in two U.S. states. Through product testing and interviews with ill people, these illnesses have been combined with the Salmonella Newport and Salmonella Hartford infections previously identified as part of this investigation.
Collaborative investigation efforts of state, local, and federal public health and regulatory agencies indicate that organic sprouted chia powder is the likely source of this outbreak. Chia powder is made from ground dried chia seeds.
On June 4, 2014, Health Matters America, Inc., recalled products that contain sprouted chia seed powder and sprouted chia/flax seed powder due to possible Salmonella contamination. On June 6, 2014, Navitas Naturals expanded their existing recall to include additional expiration dates of products containing organic sprouted chia powder.
The Public Health Agency of Canada is collaborating with Provincial public health partners, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, and Health Canada to investigate 34 Canadian cases of Salmonella infection linked to the consumption of sprouted chia seed powder. In Canada, two strains of Salmonella have been associated with this outbreak: Salmonella Newport and Salmonella Hartford. In total, 34 cases have been reported in British Columbia (6), Alberta (4), Ontario (22) and Quebec (2). Five cases have been hospitalized; four cases have been discharged and have recovered or are recovering. The status of one case was not provided to the Agency. No deaths have been reported. The investigation is ongoing but currently, 19 of 19 cases that have been interviewed have reported consumption of sprouted chia seeds or sprouted chia seed powder, and 16 of 19 cases specifically report sprouted chia seed powder.
As a part of this investigation, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has issued food recall warnings for various products containing sprouted chia seeds and sprouted chia seed powder under the brands Organic Traditions, Back 2 the Garden, Intuitive Path SuperFoods, Harmonic Arts Botanical Dispensary, Naturallyorganic, and Pete’s Gluten Free. These products have been recalled and are being removed from the marketplace due to possible Salmonella contamination.