April 23, 2024

FDA’s Consumer Advice on Bean Sprout Salmonella Outbreak

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is offering advice to consumers as a 10-state Salmonella outbreak unfolds on the East Coast. At least 63 people in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Montana, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont have been diagnosed with Salmonella infections. Eleven people have been hospitalized.

Alfalfa sproutsThe outbreak has been traced to mung bean sprouts produced by Wonton Foods Inc of Brooklyn. They were distributed to Asian restaurants and other establishments in nine states on the East Coast (all of the above except Montana. The single case patient there is believed to have contracted the infection while visiting the East Coast.)

Wonton Foods has not recalled the sprouts but claims to have contacted companies that took delivery. The company stopped production and shipment of the sprouts on November 21, and made its last shipment it made was November 18.

Consumers who have purchased this product should not eat it. Children, seniors, pregnant women and others with compromised immune systems are at heightened risk of contracting salmonellosis. These groups should always avoid eating raw sprouts of any kind.

Symptoms of Salmonella poisoning including fever, abdominal pain and diarrhea, usually develop six to 72 hours after exposure and last about a week. For some people, the diarrhea is so severe that hospitalization is required. These patients are at greater risk of developing a serious, sometimes fatal, bloodstream infection.

Consumers who have eaten the sprouts and develop symptoms should see a doctor and mention exposure to Salmonella. Anyone who has purchased the sprouts should  dispose of them by placing them in a plastic bag, sealing the bag and throwing  it away.

After disposing of the sprouts, the FDA recommends: washing the inside walls and shelves of the refrigerator, cutting boards and countertops; then sanitizing them a solution of one tablespoon of chlorine bleach to one gallon of hot water, then drying all of the surfaces and utensils with a clean paper towel that has not been previously used. After the clean up, make sure to wash hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds .

When dining out, consumers should request that raw sprouts not be added to food. Make sure that sprouts are not added to sandwiches or salads purchased at fast food restaurants or delis.



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