FDA recalls alfalfa sprouts in new Salmonella outbreak

Posted by Nicole Eckersley on 24th May 2010

The US’s Food and Drug Administration has recalled raw alfalfa sprouts produced by Caldwell Fresh Foods after they were linked to outbreak of the food-borne illness Salmonella Newport, an antibiotic-resistant strain of the bacterium, in ten states.

Half of the 22 illnesses reported so far have occurred in California, with consumers also affected in Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Missouri, New Mexico, Oregon and Wisconsin. The sprouts were distributed through a variety of restaurants and retailers, including food giants Trader Joe’s and Wal-Mart. Six cases have resulted in hospitalisation.

Sprouted seeds are identified by the FDA as an important cause of foodborne illness, and the FDA issues specific guidelines on their sourcing, handling, testing and transportation.

The first symptoms of the outbreak were reported on March 1. Public health officials linked the outbreak to the sprouts, sold under the labels Caldwell Fresh Foods, Nature’s Choice and California Exotics. Investigations of Caldwell’s processing activities are currently underway.