January 22, 2018

Listeria in Mung Bean Sprouts Kills 2, Sickens 3 Others

Listeria in mung bean sprouts produced by Wholesome Soy Products Inc. has killed two people and sickened three others, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports.  Four of the illnesses were reported in Illinois, one was reported in Michigan between June and August. The company issued a recall in August.

Listeria monocytogenes bacteriaInvestigators used whole genome sequencing on Listeria strains isolated from the mung bean sprouts, environmental samples from the facility and from the five cases patients an found them to be “highly related.”

All five case patients were hospitalized. Two of the surviving patients reported eating bean sprouts before they became ill.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) inspected the Wholesome Soy Products facility in August and October and found unsanitary conditions, many of which were present during both inspections. During the first inspection, which took place from August 12 through September 3, investigators found Listeria in environmental swabs from the facility and discovered unsanitary conditions and poor equipment maintenance.

Based on those findings, the company agreed to conduct a voluntary recall notifying customers by telephone. The company halted production from August 28 through September 15, 2014 then began again after Listeria was not identified in finished product. The FDA re-inspected the facility from October 7, 2014, to October 31, 2014 and found Listeria in nine environmental samples. Inspectors also noted 12 instances of unsanitary conditions and poor equipment maintenance, nine of which were noted on the first inspection.

On October 14, the company ceased production of some of its products, but not mung bean or soy bean sprouts. The FDA is working with the company to make sure the sprouts are not distributed until the Listeria problem is controlled. The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is working to embargo all product at Wholesome Soy Products, Inc. and the other wholesalers that presently have product.

 

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