Sweetwater Farms linked to Salmonella outbreak

By Joseph James Whitworth contact

- Last updated on GMT

Picture: alfalfa sprouts. Istock/wjarek
Picture: alfalfa sprouts. Istock/wjarek
Thirteen people have been sickened by Salmonella Muenchen linked to alfalfa sprouts produced by Sweetwater Farms of Kansas.

Five ill people have been hospitalized and four states (Kansas (5), Missouri (3), Oklahoma (3), and Pennsylvania (2 )) have reported illnesses from December 1, 2015 to January 21.

Irrigation water and alfalfa sprout samples collected by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) from Sweetwater Farms LLC tested positive for Salmonella. 

Further testing will determine the type and DNA fingerprint of Salmonella isolated in the samples.

Sweetwater Farms recall

Sweetwater Farms recalled alfalfa sprouts from lot 042016 last week.

FDA said restaurants and retailers should control the potential for cross-contamination of food processing equipment and environment.

Traceback investigations from five different restaurant locations where ill people ate sprouts indicate that the firm supplied to the locations.

In interviews, 10 (83%) of 12 ill people reported eating or maybe eating sprouts or items containing sprouts in the week before becoming ill, said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Nine of the 10 ill people reported eating alfalfa sprouts and one person purchased Sweetwater Farms brand alfalfa sprouts from a grocery store, it added.

CDC recommended consumers do not eat and restaurants and other retailers do not sell or serve alfalfa sprouts produced by Sweetwater Farms at this time.

E. coli in alfalfa sprouts

Meanwhile, the Minnesota Department of Health is investigating an outbreak associated with alfalfa sprouts produced by Jack & The Green Sprouts.

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) identified seven E. coli O157 cases in January and early February with the same DNA fingerprint.

Two additional cases of E. coli O157 infection, considered part of this outbreak, were identified by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (WDHS) in Wisconsin residents.

The FDA and state officials are collecting samples to determine the source of the outbreak.

MDH said 150 cases of E. coli O157 are reported each year in Minnesota.

In an update on Salmonella Virchow infections linked to Garden of Life RAW Meal​, the CDC said 18 people had now been sickened.

Seven more ill people were reported from seven states, with the most recent illness on February 3.

The Utah and Oklahoma Public Health Laboratories isolated the outbreak strain from open containers of Garden of Life RAW Meal from ill people's homes in Utah and Oklahoma.

Garden of Life said it had identified the likely source of contamination and would remove the ingredient from future batches.

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