April 14, 2021

Clover Sprout E. coli Outbreak Ends, 19 in 6 States Sickened

E.coli O121 on sprouts served at Jimmy John'sAn E. coli outbreak linked to raw clover sprouts served  at Jimmy John’s, Pita Pit and Daanen’s Deli has ended after sickening 19 people in six states, according to a report form the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  Sixteen people were hospitalized.

The E.coli O121 outbreak strain hit Washington state hardest with 11 cases. Illnesses reported from other states were as follows: California (1), Idaho (3), Michigan (1), Montana (2), Utah (1), and Washington (11).

The sprout grower, Evergreen Fresh Sprouts LLC of Moyle Springs, Idaho, did not issue a recall of the tainted product so health authorities issued a consumer warning about the product which remained on store shelves and in distribution to restaurants due to the lack of recall. Restaurants where cases were reported temporarily stopped serving Evergreen sprouts.

FDA investigators found subpar conditions at the Evergreen facility including: a water pipe used for misting that could not be flushed, mold growth and dripping condensate off another water pipe, condensate dripping directly into sprouting vats containing growing sprouts, a rusty and corroded water system, scratched, chipped, and corroded equipment and cracked, damaged, and chipped food contact surfaces.

At the end of June, Evergreen agreed to stop using the contaminated seed lot. Because clover sprouts have a shelf life of 14 days, it is likely the tainted sprouts are no longer on the market.

Case patients, who ranged in age from 11 to 52, reported onset of illness from May 1, 2014, to May 20, 2014. Sixty-eight percent of them were female. None of them developed  hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), and no deaths were reported.

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