Salmonella Victims Sue Sprout Grower

Sprouters Northwest, Inc. of Kent, Washington, has been named in a couple of lawsuits for its part in a recent <"">Salmonella outbreak, said The Seattle Times.

We previously wrote that Sprouters Northwest issued a voluntarily recall of its clover and clover mix products because they have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) previously announced.

According to The Seattle Times, at least eight people in Washington and Oregon fell ill after eating the contaminated sprouts. Tests traced the source of the Salmonella pathogen back to Sprouters Northwest sprouts, said the state Department of Health, wrote The Seattle Times.

So far, two lawsuits have been filed on behalf of people who fell ill and whose illnesses worsened, causing them to receive medical attention, noted The Seattle Times.

Sprouters Northwest initiated the recall January 1st after learning that a few cases of Salmonella might be linked to sprouts. The recalled clover products were distributed in Washington State, Oregon, Idaho, and Alaska in retail chains and through wholesale distribution, with certain products labeled with “best by” dates of 1/16/11 and earlier, such as specific packages Clover Sprouts, Clover Onion Sprouts, Deli Sprouts, Spicy Sprouts, and Brocco Sandwich Sprouts.

Production of these products was suspended while FDA and the company investigated the source of the problem.

Consumers who purchased these clover-based products were urged to return them to the place of purchase for a full refund and to contact the company at 1.253.872.0577, Monday through Friday, from 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

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 (which 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 (i.e., infected aneurysms), endocarditis, and arthritis.

As we’ve reported in the past, 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 necessarily 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.

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