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Saturday, March 7, 2009

Salmonellosis Sprouts in Nebraska, Iowa, Sicken Some

1] Iowa
Date: Fri 6 Mar 2009
Source: Des Moines (IA) Register [edited]

Lab tests have confirmed that several more people were sickened by
salmonellosis, possibly linked to tainted alfalfa sprouts, health
officials said Thursday [5 Mar 2009].

The Iowa Department of Public Health said 15 Iowans had confirmed or
suspected infections from the bacterium. The Nebraska health
department said 30 residents there had confirmed or suspected cases.
A few hospitalizations have been reported, although most people have
recovered at home.

The outbreak began last week [week of 23 Feb 2009], and investigators
suspect it was linked to alfalfa sprouts grown by an Omaha company,
CW Sprouts. Investigators were trying to determine if the
contamination happened at the plant or somewhere else in the supply
chain. The company has voluntarily recalled alfalfa sprouts, onion
sprouts and gourmet sprouts, which were sold under the brand name
SunSprouts. The products were mostly sold in 4-ounce plastic
containers, and they were distributed to grocery stores and
restaurants in Nebraska and Iowa. Alfalfa sprouts also were sold in
larger packages to restaurants.

Iowa officials have suggested that people avoid all such sprouts
until the exact cause of the outbreak has been determined.

[Byline: Tony Leys]

Communicated by:

[2] Nebraska
Date: Fri 6 Mar 2009
Source: EmaxHealth, Nebraska Department of Health report [edited]

The number of salmonellosis cases in eastern Nebraska initially
detected last week [week of 23 Feb 2009] has increased, according to
the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services. So far, there
are approximately 14 lab-confirmed cases, with 4 considered probable
ones and an additional 8 to 10 suspect cases identified on the basis
of reported symptoms.

The outbreak preliminarily has been linked to a source -- alfalfa
sprouts from a local grower, CW Sprouts of Omaha. Last week and
over the weekend [28 Feb-1 Mar 2009], public health workers have been
interviewing individuals involved in the outbreak, as well as people
in a control group that helps interviewers determine the food source.
The interviews led epidemiologists to conclude that sprouts were
reported in a high number of food histories of ill people, thus there
was a strong association with sprouts.

The FDA and CDC are involved. FDA is doing an investigation at the
company to determine conditions that may have lead to the
contamination as well as determine distribution of the product.

Nebraska health officials from the Department of Health and Human
Services will work with the Nebraska Department of Agriculture
Laboratory to try to isolate salmonella from existing alfalfa seeds
and sprouts to determine how the contamination occurred.

The serotype of _Salmonella_ in these cases is called Saintpaul, a
relatively rare kind. Samples have been sent to the Minnesota Public
Health Laboratory to determine if they share a DNA fingerprint. This
evaluation will conclusively show if all the cases are linked.

Meanwhile, DHHS [United States Department of Health and Human
Services] and local health departments -- the Douglas County Health
Department, the Lancaster County Health Department, the Sarpy/Cass
Department of Health and Wellness -- are continuing to conduct
interviews. So far, 2 people have been hospitalized and released.

Communicated by:

[3] Recall
Date: Fri 6 Mar 2009
Source: Fresh Plaza [edited]

SunSprout Enterprises, Inc., Omaha, Nebraska, is initiating a
voluntary recall of Alfalfa Sprouts, Onion Sprouts, and Gourmet
Sprouts based on communications it has had with Nebraska State
officials regarding several cases of _Salmonella_ Saintpaul reported
in Nebraska and Iowa.

The sprouts were distributed to food distributors located in Iowa and
Nebraska who further sell the product to restaurants and retail
stores. Distribution was also made directly to one retail store in

The sprouts are sold refrigerated under the SunSprouts label in 4-oz.
clear plastic clamshell containers that have the following "Best If
Sold By" dates in the upper right-hand corner on each container,
which may be expressed in 2 different styles: 30209 or MAR 02 2009,
30409 or MAR 04 2009, 30709 or MAR 07 2009, 30909 or MAR 09 2009,
31109 or MAR 11 2009, and 31409 or MAR 14 2009. The lot numbers,
which are printed only on the shipping case, include: 3102, 3202,
3302, 4102, 4202, and 4302.

The bar code for the retail packages of Alfalfa Sprouts is
the bar code for the Onion Sprouts is 815098002054; and
the bar code for the Gourmet Sprouts is 817180000153.

The Alfalfa Sprouts are also packaged in bulk 2.5-lb. and 5-lb. cases
for use in restaurants. The Onion Sprouts and Gourmet Sprouts are not
in bulk form.

Although neither CW Sprouts nor the Nebraska state officials have any
product laboratory test data linking the sprouts to the illnesses or
to the microorganism, the recall is being conducted as a
precautionary measure. State officials continue to review all
available data and information to determine whether sprouts are
reliably implicated in the recent reported cases of _S._ Saintpaul.

Communicated by:

[Enteric pathogens that contaminate produce that is eaten without
cooking (such as sprouts) represent a significant hazard. Similar
postings were submitted by Maria A Christensen from Creighton
University School of Medicine and ProMED-Mail Rapporteur Susan
Baekeland. - Mod.LL]

[Iowa and Nebraska, in the Midwestern United States, can be located
on the HealthMap/ProMED-mail interactive map at
- CopyEd.MJ]

[see also:
Salmonellosis, serotype Saintpaul - USA: (NE) 20090303.0873
Salmonellosis, serotype Typhimurium - USA (11): peanut butter 20090210.0606
Salmonellosis, serotype Typhimurium - USA: RFI 20090108.0077
Salmonellosis, serotype Saintpaul, tomatoes - USA (17): peppers 20080903.2759
Salmonellosis, serotype Saintpaul, tomatoes - USA (02) 20080605.1800
Salmonellosis, serotype Saintpaul, tomatoes - USA: multistate 20080603.1777]
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