The outbreak that’s sickened people in four Midwest states has been tied to SunSprout Enterprises’ sprouts that were distributed to grocery stores and restaurants. The Omaha company "voluntarily" recalled its products.
Nebraska health officials say 84 cases of Salmonella saintpaul have been confirmed near Omaha, Lincoln and Kearney.
Iowa officials confirmed 27 cases. South Dakota and Kansas officials have both confirmed five cases in their states.
Sprouts have been implicated in an increasing number of foodborne illness outbreaks in recent years, and although procedures have been developed to significantly reduce bacterial contamination, not all sprout growers have adopted techniques to decrease the risk of contaminated produce. In 1999, the FDA announced new guidelines for the growing of sprouts, including using calcium hypochlorite treatment on seeds. This treatment exposes seeds to high levels of chlorine, killing bacteria, but leaving seeds unharmed. Since its introduction, manufacturers who consistently use this seed disinfectant treatment have not been implicated in foodborne illness outbreaks.