Alfalfa sprouts recalled after 22 sickened

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N.M. has reported one case of a person being sickened by the sprouts

By The Staff

WASHINGTON — Salmonella found in raw alfalfa sprouts appears to have sickened 22 people in 10 states, including one infant in Oregon, prompting a nationwide recall of the product.

Caldwell Fresh Foods of Maywood, Calif., announced the recall Friday. According to the Oregon Department of Human Services, which also announced the recall Friday, Caldwell’s product was sold in 18 states in the West, Midwest and South.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 11 people were sickened in California, two were sickened in Nevada and two were sickened in Wisconsin. Arizona, Oregon, Idaho, Illinois, Missouri, New Mexico and Colorado each had one person sickened. Six people were hospitalized.

A representative for Caldwell did not return a call Friday and a release issued by the company did not list the states to which the company sold the sprouts. The company did report the sprouts were sold at restaurants, delicatessens and retailers nationwide, including many in California. Those California stores include Trader Joe’s, Wal-Mart, Kings

Super Markets, Numero Uno, Cardenas Markets, Gonzales Northgate Markets, Jons Markets and Canton Foods.

The company said the recalled sprouts were sold in plastic cups and plastic bags under the Caldwell Fresh Foods brand, plastic cups under the Nature’s Choice brand and plastic containers under the California Fresh Exotics brand.

William E. Keene, a senior epidemiologist at the Oregon health department, said Caldwell Fresh Foods is cooperating with an investigation.

Salmonella is an organism that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children and others with weakened immune systems. It can cause diarrhea, fever and vomiting.

Keene said this is the 12th outbreak in sprouts that has sickened Oregonians since 1995.

He went as far as to warn against eating raw sprouts at all, saying anyone concerned with food-borne illness should be aware of the number of outbreaks.

This is the second large multi-state outbreak in fresh produce announced this month. The CDC said Friday that they have identified additional people sickened by an outbreak of E. coli in romaine lettuce, bringing the total to 25 people sickened in Michigan, New York, Ohio, Tennessee and Pennsylvania. Seven additional cases are suspected, the CDC said.