Salmonella Prompts Recalls of Sprouts, Jalapeno Peppers

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced two separate recalls over potential contamination with the dangerous, and sometimes deadly, <"">Salmonella pathogen. The recalls involve recalled sprouts distributed as Louie’ brand by Louie Foods International and recalled Jalapeño Peppers distributed by Thomas Produce. No illnesses have been reported in connection with either recall; however, it is important to note that foodborne illness symptoms can take time to become apparent.

Salmonella contamination can lead to the bacterial infection Salmonellosis, which usually last 4-7 days. Symptoms include fever, abdominal cramps and diarrhea between 12 and 72 hours after infection. Very young and old people and those with weakened immune systems can suffer severe illness and, in the worst cases possible, death, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In rare circumstances, infection with Salmonella can result in the organism getting into the bloodstream and producing more severe illnesses such as arterial infections (i.e., infected aneurysms), endocarditis and arthritis.

Louie Foods International of Fresno, California
Louie Food is recalling all of its Louie’s brand sprouts with a “Use By” date on or before 4/14/11. Products affected by the recall are:

• Alfalfa Sprout Mix: 4-oz cups, UPC 11324 04401; 16-oz bags, UPC 11324 16401

• Clover Sprouts: 4-oz cups, UPC 11324 04406; 16-oz bags, UPC 11324 04406

• Spicy Sprouts: 4-oz cups, UPC 11325 04402

• Broccoli Sprouts: 4-oz cups, UPC 11324 04407

The recalled sprouts were sold to distributors in California’s Central Valley and along California’s coast. Louie Foods contacted its customers and advised them to destroy the affected products. The contamination was detected during a random test conducted by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), in a package of the alfalfa-clover sprouts. Louie Foods has temporarily ceased production and distribution of the recalled sprout products. The California Department of Public Health, the FDA, and Louie Foods are investigating the source of the problem.

As we’ve long advised, sprouts present a unique food poisoning challenge in that they can become tainted prior to harvesting, when growing. Because sprouts are often eaten raw with no additional treatment, such as cooking, which eliminates bacteria, washing sprouts does not remove bacteria because bacteria grow within the sprouts and cannot be washed away. Over the past 15 years, at least 30 outbreaks of food poisoning have been associated with eating raw or lightly cooked sprouts, according to the FDA.

Consumers are urged to destroy the recalled sprouts or to return them to the place of purchase for a full refund. Jay Louie at Louie Foods International can be reached at 1.559.264.2745.

Thomas Produce of Boca Raton, Florida

Thomas Produce is recalling 320 boxes of Jalapeno Peppers sold to distributors in Florida, New York, North Carolina, New Jersey, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania from February 15-18, 2011. The fresh, whole, green Jalapeno Peppers were sold in generic cardboard bushel boxes (1-1/9 bushel size). The 2.5-inch by 1-inch affixed label on the box bears code 1054811HJBT. This is the only lot affected by this recall, which was the result of routine sampling by the FDA, which revealed that one sample of the finished product tested positive for Salmonella. The company has ceased production and distribution of this lot of Jalapeno Peppers while the FDA and Thomas Produce investigate the problem. Richard Wilson of Thomas Produce can be reached at 1.561.482.1111, Monday-Friday, 9:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.

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