Maybe We Should All Just Stop Eating Sprouts

Image courtesy of Amy Adoyzie

You can eat two out of three of these. (Amy Adoyzie)

You can eat two out of three of these. (Amy Adoyzie)

Sprouts are exactly what they sound like: the first sprouts from plants like beans or alfalfa, grown for a short time and then packaged for maximum deliciousness in a stir fry or on a salad. However, two pieces of sprout-related news from this week might make you pause before adding them to your salad.

First, we learned about an ongoing outbreak of Salmonella Enteritidis that has made 68 people ill so far. According to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report, authorities know that 33 of the people infected with this strain of Salmonella remember eating bean sprouts. These sprouts have been traced to sprouts from one company, Wonton Foods, Inc. 11 of the people infected have been hospitalized. Most of the reported cases have been in Massachusetts.

While the distributor, Wonton Foods, Inc., hasn’t announced a recall, the CDC recommends that consumers avoid bean sprouts from this company, and the company has agreed to stop producing and selling their sprouts. If you have eaten bean sprouts in the Northeast in the last few weeks, watch for fever, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea, and call your health care provider if you become ill 12 to 72 hours after eating sprouts.

Meanwhile, nobody had to get sick to discover a different foodborne pathogen, Listeria monocytogenes, in bean sprouts distributed by Henry’s Farm in Virginia and Maryland. The Department of Agriculture in Virginia discovered the bacteria as part of random sampling. Those sprouts were distributed mostly in Asian specialty stores and in 10-pound bags for restaurants.

Multistate Outbreak of Salmonella Enteritidis Infections Linked to Bean Sprouts [CDC] (via Food Safety News)
Henry’s Farm Inc. Recalls Soybean Sprouts Due To Possible Health Risk [FDA]