October 15, 2021

BrightFarms Leafy Salad Greens Salmonella Outbreak Ends With 31 Sick

The BrightFarms leafy salad greens Salmonella outbreak has ended with 31 sick in four states and four hospitalized, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  On the last update on case counts, which was issued in July 2021, there were only 11 people sick and two hospitalized. Another state, Pennsylvania, was added to the case count.

BrightFarms Salmonella Outbreak Ends With 31 Sick, Four Hospitalized

The case count by state is: Illinois (18), Michigan (1), Pennsylvania (2), and Wisconsin (10). Illness onset dates range from June 10, 2021 to August 18, 2021. The patient age range was from less than 1 year to 86 years. The hospitalization rate was not given.

Ofificlas interviewed people about the foods they ate before they got sick. They also collected shopper card records to discover which specific products were purchased. Among the 27 people interviewed, 26, or 96%, said they ate leafy greens, and among those, 85% said they ate prepackaged salads. This was significantly higher than the percentage of healthy people who said they ate prepackaged salads in the previous week, indicating that the patients got sick from eating prepackaged salads.

Further interviews, along with shopper data, found that 15 people ate or bought a variety of BrightFarms packaged salad greens before they got sick. The types of BrightFarms salads purchased included Sunny Crunch, Harvest Crunch, Butter Crisp, and 50/50 Spring & Spinach. A traceback investigation identified the BrightFarms greenhouse farm in Rochelle, Illinois, as the likely source of these greens.

Whole genome sequencing found that the bacteria from sick people’s samples were closely related genetically, which means they likely got sick from eating the same food. And the FDA visited the BrightFarms greenhouse in Rochelle and collected samples. They found a different Salmonella strain, Liverpool, in an outdoor pond where the lettuce was grown. But no one was sickened with that particular strain.

The FDA did find the outbreak strain of Salmonella Typhimurium in an outdoor storm water drainage pond beside the pond where Salmonella Liverpool was found. Investigators could not determine how that pond was contaminated.

BrightFarms products were recalled three times. On July 15, 2021 their salad greens produced in the Rochelle, Illinois greenhouse were recalled, and the company added Michigan as an additional state where the products were distributed on July 21, 2021. On July 28, 2021, BrightFarms added their Baby Spinach product to the recall list after Salmonella was found in their indoor pond. The recalled products are now all long past their best by dates.

Symptoms of Salmonella food poisoning include a fever, nausea, vomiting, abdominal and stomach pain, and diarrhea that may be bloody. If you have eaten BrightFarms leafy salad greens identified in the recalls and have been ill, you may be part of this BrightFarms leafy salad greens Salmonella outbreak.

Pritzker Hageman Food Safety Lawyers

If you or a loved one have been sickened with a Salmonella Typhimurium infection after eating recalled BrightFarms leafy salad greens products, please contact our experienced attorneys for help at 1-888-377-8900 or 612-338-0202.

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