Alfalfa Sprouts Recalled in New York for Salmonella

Patrick Hooker, the New York State Agriculture Commissioner, is alerting consumers that Snow White Food Products Inc., of 621 Bergen Street in Brooklyn, New York, is recalling certain packages of “Alfalfa Sprouts” due to the presence of <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/practice_areas/food_poisoning">Salmonella.

The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets is recalling Alfalfa Sprouts that are packaged in a 3.5-ounce plastic clamshell container, which is uncoded. The recalled product has a UPC code of 0-46421-11236-6 and was distributed in New York State.

Salmonella is an organism that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy persons infected with Salmonella often experience fever, diarrhea that may be bloody, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. In rare circumstances, infection with Salmonella can result in the organism getting into the bloodstream and producing more severe illnesses such as arterial infections, endocarditis, and arthritis.

We have long been writing that sprouts present a unique food borne contamination challenge in that they can become tainted prior to harvesting, when growing. The conditions required for sprout growing are optimal for growing pathogens: Bacteria need the right temperature, nutrients, and water and sprouts grow in watery, warm environments, ideal for rapid bacterial growth. Because sprouts are often eaten raw with no additional treatment, such as cooking, which eliminates bacteria, washing sprouts does not necessarily remove bacteria because bacteria grow within the sprouts and cannot be washed away.

The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets indicated that no illnesses have been reported, to date, in connection with the recalled product. The contamination was discovered after a sample analyzed by the New York State Food Laboratory revealed the presence of Salmonella in some 3.5 ounce containers of Snow White Food Products “Alfalfa Sprouts.” Production and sale of the product has been suspended.

Consumers who have purchased 3.5 ounce containers of Snow White Food Products “Alfalfa Sprouts” are urged to return them to the place of purchase or discard the product. Consumers with questions may contact the company directly at 718-230-5625.

We recently wrote that the USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) estimated that Salmonella infections, from all sources, cost about $2.65 billion annually, based on an estimate by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of 1.4 million Salmonella cases annually from all sources, with 415 deaths. The estimated average cost per case is $1,896. The ERS also put the cost of E. coli O157 cases at $478.4 million, using the CDC’s estimate of 73,480 cases per year from all sources, with 61 deaths. The average cost per case is estimated at $6,510.Salmonella outbreaks from raw alfalfa sprouts are not uncommon.

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