May 29, 2024

CDC: E. coli O121 on Sprouts Hospitalizes 5

Clover sprouts contaminated with E. coli O121 on sandwiches from Jimmy John’s and other stores have put five people in the hospital and sickened five others, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Seven of those sickened are in Washington and three are in Idaho.

Bowl of Clover SproutsHealth authorities are warning consumers not to eat sprouts from Evergreen Fresh Sprouts, LLC of Idaho. A recall for the sprouts has not been issued.

Symptoms of E. coli poisoning, which include abdominal cramping and bloody diarrhea, usually develop within three days of exposure but can take anywhere from two to eight days. The case patients in this outbreak experienced first symptoms between May 1 and May 13. They range in age from 22 years to 45 years old. The median age is 27. Nine of them are female.

Those who became ill reported eating clover sprouts on food from Jimmy John’s, the Pita Pit, and Daanen’s Deli days before they became ill.

Because they require hot, humid conditions for growth, sprouts are an ideal breeding ground for bacteria. The Food Safety Modernization Act has a section devoted entirely to sprouts.

Since 1996, there have been 30  “sproutbreaks” where sprouts contaminated with Salmonella, Listeria, E. coli and other pathogens have caused food poisoning outbreaks. In 2012, sprouts were recalled for potential contamination at least seven times and were the source of one of the largest multi-state foodborne illness outbreaks of that year.  The 11-state outbreak which sickened 29 people was linked to sprouts served at a fast food sandwich chain. Also in 2012, Kroger, one of the nation’s largest grocery retailers decided to stop selling sprouts because of the risk they pose.

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