Salmonella Outbreak Prompts Urgent Recall of Alfalfa Sprouts

Raw alfalfa sprouts linked to a 10-state <"">Salmonella outbreak are being recalled today by Caldwell Fresh Foods of Maywood, Calif. According to a notice posted on the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) web site, the sprouts were distributed to a variety of restaurants, delicatessens and retailers, including Trader Joe’s and Wal-Mart stores.

This urgent recall affects raw alfalfa sprouts packaged and labeled as:

• Caldwell Fresh Foods – 4-ounce plastic cups and one-pound plastic bags, and 2-pound and 5-pound plastic bags in cardboard boxes with sticker affixed with the printed words “Caldwell Fresh Foods”

• Nature’s Choice – 4-ounce plastic cups

• California Exotics brands – 5-ounce plastic clamshell containers

No other sprouts are included in this recall.

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. Healthy persons infected with Salmonella often experience fever, diarrhea (which may be bloody), nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. Consumers who are experiencing these symptoms should seek medical attention.

Since March 1, 2010, a total of 22 cases of Salmonella Newport infections have been confirmed in Arizona (1), California (11), Colorado (1), Idaho (1), Illinois (1), Missouri (1), New Mexico (1), Nevada (2), Oregon (1), and Wisconsin (2). Six of the cases have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.

The FDA said it is investigating the outbreak in cooperation with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the California Department of Public Health, and public health agencies in other affected states. The FDA, along with the California Department of Public Health, is inspecting the firm’s facility and collecting samples. Caldwell Fresh Foods is cooperating in the investigation and has recalled all of its alfalfa sprouts from commerce, the agency said.

All consumers and restaurant/delicatessen operators should immediately stop using Caldwell Fresh Foods raw alfalfa sprouts. The FDA also reminds consumers that children, the elderly, pregnant women and persons with weakened immune systems should avoid eating raw sprouts of any kind (including alfalfa, clover, radish and mung bean sprouts). More information for consumers about avoiding the risks associated with eating sprouts is available here.

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