Another Sprout Recall Over Salmonella Concerns

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) just announced that Los Angeles Calco, Inc. of Arcadia, California, has issued a recall of its Los Angeles Calco brand Alfalfa Sprouts over possible contamination with the dangerous, sometimes deadly, Salmonella pathogen. Routine testing detected <"">Salmonella in the recalled Alfalfa Sprouts.

According to the FDA The Watcher

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, the recalled Los Angeles Calco Alfalfa Sprouts were distributed to three cash and carry wholesalers in California:

Brostoff Celle: 1601 E Olympic Blvd # 505, Los Angeles, California, 90021. Telephone: 1-213-623-5263.
Banana Company: 1601 E Olympic Blvd. # 325, Los Angeles, California, 90021. Telephone: 1-213-327-2188.
Ingardia: 2120 Placentia Ave, Costa Mesa, California, 90021. Telephone: 1-949-645-1365.

The recalled Los Angeles Calco Alfalfa Sprouts are packaged in four-ounce, clear flexible clam-shell plastic containers that are four inches by four inches by four inches with a perforated bottom that contains nine holes, about ¼-inch in diameter each. The recalled Alfalfa Sprouts have a label on top with characters in green that identify the product—Alfalfa Sprouts—as well as the distributor’s name and address—Los Angeles Calco, Inc.—and Sell By Dates of April 23, 2009 and May 2, 2009.

The FDA is urging consumers who purchased Los Angeles Calco Alfalfa Sprouts to return the product to the place of purchase for a full refund. Consumers with questions may contact the company at 1-626-930-1988.

Of note, sprouts present a very unique challenge when a food borne outbreak occurs because sprouts can become tainted with salmonella prior to harvesting, when they are growing. Also, 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, which are ideal for rapid bacterial growth. Sprouts are often eaten raw with no additional treatment, such as cooking, which eliminates bacteria that can cause disease and food borne illnesses; washing sprouts does not necessarily remove bacteria because bacteria grow within the sprouts and cannot be washed away.

Salmonella can cause serious, sometimes fatal Salmonellosis infections in young children and weak or elderly people. Healthy people may experience fever, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain, if infected. Without treatment, severe cases of Salmonella poisoning can result in death; however, some Salmonella bacteria are resistant to antibiotics, largely due to the use of antibiotics to promote the growth of feed animals. Salmonella causes 40,000 confirmed cases annually, but the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say the pathogen is likely responsible for close to 40 times that—a stunning 1,600,000—noting that 2,500 subtypes of Salmonella exist, said MSNBC in an earlier report.

Meanwhile, the first lawsuit connected with a recent, separate, multi-state Salmonella Saintpaul outbreak linked to SunSprout Enterprises’ alfalfa, onion, and gourmet sprouts was recently filed. That outbreak involves over 121 illnesses in five states.

Earlier this month we also wrote about an Alfalfa Sprout recall over possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination involving a variety of Amalgamated Produce, Inc.’s (API) sprouts. In that recall, the pathogen was Listeria and not a Salmonella strain. Listeria monocytogenes is responsible for an estimated 2,500 illnesses in the United States annually, with about 200 in every 1,000 cases resulting in death. Listeriosis can take days, even weeks, to develop and can present in anything from a mild flu-like illness to meningitis and septicemia.

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