Two recalls involving alfalfa sprouts including some sold at Winn-Dixie, and potential contamination with the dangerous Salmonella pathogen have just been announced by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Sprouts are a known source of food borne illness and, because sprouts are often eaten raw with no additional treatment, such as cooking, which eliminates bacteria, washing sprouts does not necessarily remove the bacteria that grows within the sprouts and cannot be washed away. Over the past 15 years, at least 30 outbreaks of food poisoning have been linked to eating raw or lightly cooked sprouts, said the FDA. Most outbreaks were caused by Salmonella and E. coli.
Contamination with the Salmonella pathogen can cause salmonellosis, which can lead to serious consequences, most especially in the elderly, infants, and those with impaired immune systems. In these patients, the infection may spread from the intestines to the blood stream, and then to other body sites, and can cause death unless the person is treated promptly with antibiotics. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that people suffering from salmonellosis usually experience symptoms beginning 12 – 72 hours after becoming contaminated. Symptoms may include fever, vomiting, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea and usually last 4 – 7 days. Most people recover without antibiotic treatment; however, diarrhea can be very severe, and hospitalization may be required. Also, some strains have become drug resistant, which means that treatment options are minimized, treatment becomes significantly more difficult, and patients cannot always be brought back to their presickness state.
Winn-Dixie Stores: Class I Recall
Winn-Dixie Stores, Inc., recalled all of its LEASA Living Alfalfa Sprouts sold in 6-ounce package with UPC 7546555912. LEASA sprouts were sold in all stores in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. Four-ounce packages are also being recalled. The recalled LEASA sprouts were sold January 7 – 18, 2012 with expiration dates from February 1, 2012 through March 15, 2012:
• LEASA Broccoli Sprouts: 4-ounce; UPC 7546555636
• LEASA Gourmet Sprouts: 6-ounce; UPC 7546555633
• LEASA Spicy Sprouts: 6-ounce; UPC 7546555635
• LEASA Onion Sprouts; 6-ounce; UPC 7546555634
This recall has been designated a Class I by the FDA, its most serious and involving a situation in which there exists a reasonable probability that the use of or exposure to the recalled product will cause serious adverse health consequences or death. To date, said Winn-Dixie, it has not received any reports of illness connected to LEASA-branded sprouts consumption.
“We encourage guests in possession of any of the recalled items to immediately discard the product in a sealed garbage container,” said Mary Kellmanson, Winn-Dixie’s group vice president of marketing. “Guests who have purchased the product may visit their neighborhood Winn-Dixie to request a full refund, no questions asked.” Refunds will be provided by presenting proof of purchase either from the receipt or product packaging label. Winn-Dixie Guest Service Center can be reached, toll free, at 1.866.WINN-DIXIE (1.866.946.6349).
LEASA Industries Co. Inc., Miami, Florida
LEASA is recalling 346 cases of its LEASA Living Alfalfa Sprouts with use by date 2/1/12 over concerns the sprouts may be contaminated with the Salmonella pathogen. The recalled alfalfa sprouts were disturbed in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi at retail stores and food service companies January 4 – 8, 2012. The recalled sprouts are packaged in 6-ounce clear plastic containers with UPC 75465-55912 and an expiration date of 2/1/12. The UPC is located on the side of the label at the side of the container; the expiration date is located on the side of the container.
The potential for the contamination was discovered when routine customer sample testing on January 9th revealed the Salmonella pathogen, said LEASA, which added that it is collaborating with the Florida Department of Agriculture and the FDA.
LEASA suggests consumers in possession of the recalled LEASA Living Alfalfa Sprouts dispose of the product by throwing it away in the trash receptacle. All grocery stores, food services, and other retailers with LEASA Living Alfalfa Sprouts with a use by date of 2/1/12 should remove these products from their shelves. LEASA can be reached, toll-free, at 1.800.362.7669, Monday through Friday, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time (EST).