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Salmonella Worries Prompt Alfalfa Sprout Recall

Mar 3, 2008 | Parker Waichman LLP

Salmonella tainted alfalfa sprouts have been recalled in several Western states, after routine testing by the California Department of Public Health found some of the sprouts were contaminated with the Salmonella bacteria.

The Salmonella sprout recall involves three brand of sprouts.  Salad Cosmo USA Corp. of Dixon, Calif., has recalled Salad Cosmo Alfalfa Sprouts distributed to retail stores, including SaveMart Supermarket and wholesale distributors throughout California and Washington.   The Salad Cosmo recalled alfalfa sprouts are packaged in 2.5-ounce plastic containers with white and green labels and clear 1-pound bags with blue labeling.  Both packages are labeled Salad Cosmo Alfalfa Sprouts. The products have “Use By” codes: 0219, 0220, 0221, 0222, 0223, 0224, 0226, 0227, 0228, 0229, 0302 and 0303.  The codes are located on the front label of the 2.5-ounce packages and on the left side of the 1-pound bags near the product name.

Always Fresh and Alfa One alfalfa sprouts packaged by  J.H. Caldwell and Sons Inc. of Maywood, Calif. have also been recalled.  The Always Fresh and Alfa One sprouts where distributed to wholesale distributors and retail grocery stores in California, including Beach Market, KV Mart and Superior Warehouse, and to Trader Joes grocery stores in California, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon and Washington.   The J.H. Caldwell and Sons recalled alfalfa sprouts are labeled Always Fresh and Alfa One. The products are packaged in 4 ounce  and 5 ounce containers and in plastic bags.  The recalled product codes are 202182, 202192, 202202, 202212, 202222, 202232, 202242, 202252, 202262 and 202272.  The code is printed on the side of the containers and on the back of the plastic bag.

Salmonella causes fever, abdominal pain, nausea, gas and bloody diarrhea. Symptoms appear within 36 hours of exposure, and usually last four to seven days. In very severe cases, Salmonella can lead to kidney failure and other complications. Salmonella can be particularly dangerous for children, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems. In rare cases, Salmonella can cause a disease called Reiter’s Syndrome, a difficult- to- treat condition that causes severe joint pain, irritation of the eyes, and painful urination. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Salmonella bacteria sicken 40,000 people every year. Although the true number could be much higher, because it is estimated that for every case of Salmonella poisoning reported, two others are unreported.

Although no illnesses have been reported in relation to this alfalfa sprout recalls, Salmonella-tainted sprouts have caused outbreaks of the disease in the past.  In the summer of 2004, an unusual strain of Salmonella bacteria was associated with raw alfalfa sprouts sold in the Northwest. Following reports of a rise in Salmonella poisoning, a Washington-based producer recalled institutional packs of alfalfa sprouts. Food safety officials suspected that the sprouts were associated with 14 cases of foodborne illness. Later, other sprout producers also recalled products, because the sprouts had been grown from the same lot of seeds.


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