Sprout Salmonella Outbreak Grows, 112 Illnesses Reported

A <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/practice_areas/food_poisoning">Salmonella outbreak tied to Tiny Greens Organic Farm’s alfalfa sprouts has spread to 18 states and the District of Columbia, infecting 112 people. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 24-percent of those sickened have been hospitalized, but no deaths have been reported.

Half of those infected were from Illinois, where many of those sickened ate sandwiches with sprouts at Jimmy John’s restaurants, the CDC said. The restaurant voluntarily stopped serving sprouts at their Illinois locations last month.

Tiny Greens Organic Farm of Urbana, Illinois, is recalling Alfalfa Sprouts and Spicy Sprouts because they have the potential to be contaminated with salmonella. The sprouts were distributed in Illinois, Indiana and Missouri and could have been on store shelves and used in restaurants. Other Midwestern states may also have received the sprouts. Spicy Sprouts are a mixture of alfalfa sprouts, clover sprouts and radish.

Salmonella is a bacterial infection that usually last 4 to 7 days. The infected person develops fever, abdominal cramps and diarrhea between 12 and 72 hours after becoming infected. Most people recover without treatment. However very young and very old people as well as those with weakened immune systems can suffer severe illness and in the worst cases possible death, according to the CDC.

Health officials say the first cases date back to November 1, 2010. States where outbreaks have been confirmed are Illinois with 59 cases; Missouri with 22 cases; Indiana has 10 cases; Wisconsin and Pennsylvania each have 3 cases; Massachusetts has 2 cases; and California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Kentucky, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia each have 1 confirmed case.

According to the CDC, about 40,000 cases of Salmonella are reported each year in the US. Since 1996, there have been at least 30 reported outbreaks of foodborne illness associated with different types of raw and lightly cooked sprouts. Most of these outbreaks were caused by Salmonella and E. coli infections.

Consumers should not eat recalled Tiny Greens brand Alfalfa Sprouts or Spicy Sprouts and restaurant and food service operators should not serve them, the CDC said. Consumers, retailers and others who have Tiny Greens Alfalfa Sprouts or Spicy Sprouts should dispose of them in a closed plastic bag placed in a sealed trash can. This will prevent people or animals from eating them.

The CDC is also making the following additional recommendations:

• Persons who think they might have become ill from eating potentially contaminated products should consult their health care providers.

• 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).

• Cook sprouts thoroughly to reduce the risk of illness. Cooking thoroughly kills the harmful bacteria.

• Request that raw sprouts not be added to your food. If you purchase a sandwich or salad at a restaurant or delicatessen, check to make sure that raw sprouts have not been added.

For more information on sprouts and food borne illness, visit foodsafety.gov.

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