Thirty people infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella have been reported from nine states – Colorado 13, Kansas 8, Minnesota 1, Missouri 1, Nebraska 2, New York 1, Oregon 1, Texas 1 and Wyoming 2.
Of those ill people, 24 were infected with Salmonella Reading, 1 was infected with Salmonella Abony, and 5 were infected with both.
Illnesses started on dates ranging from May 21, 2016 to July 20, 2016. Ill people range in age from less than 1 year to 72, with a median age of 30. Fifty-three percent of ill people are female. Five ill people have been hospitalized, and no deaths have been reported.
Epidemiologic and traceback evidence available at this time indicate that alfalfa sprouts supplied by Sprouts Extraordinaire of Denver, Colorado are the likely source of this outbreak. Ill people in the current outbreak reported eating raw alfalfa sprouts on sandwiches from several different restaurants.
Federal, state, and local health and regulatory officials performed a traceback investigation from five restaurants where ill people reported eating alfalfa sprouts. This investigation indicated that Sprouts Extraordinaire supplied alfalfa sprouts to all five of these locations.
On August 5, 2016, Sprouts Extraordinaire recalled its alfalfa sprout products from the market due to possible Salmonella contamination. These products were sold in 5-pound boxes labeled “Living Alfalfa Sprouts.” CDC recommends that restaurants and other retailers do not sell or serve and consumers do not eat recalled alfalfa sprouts supplied by Sprouts Extraordinaire.
According the FDA’s own 1999 advisory, Recommendations on Sprouted Seeds, sprouts have been increasingly implicated in foodborne outbreaks. Perhaps it is time for a sprout warning?