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Salmonella Sprouts Outbreak Cases at 94

The number of people now believed ill from an outbreak strain of Salmonella associated with alfalfa sprouts is 94, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Tuesday.

The CDC and the Food and Drug Administration have said preliminary results of the investigation indicate a link to eating Tiny Greens brand alfalfa sprouts at Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwich restaurant outlets.

In its update report on the outbreak the CDC said that through Dec. 27, 94 individuals infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella serotype I 4,[5],12:i:-, whose illnesses began since Nov. 1, have been reported from 16 states and the District of Columbia.

The CDC said 51 people have been identified with the outbreak strain in Illinois, 17 in Missouri, nine in Indiana, three in Wisconsin and two in Pennsylvania with single cases in California, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Massachusetts, New York, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia.

Case-patients range in age from 1 to 75 years, with a median age of 28. Sixty-one (67 percent) of the patients are female. Among those with available information, 24 percent reported being hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.

The CDC cautioned that because the pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) pattern associated with this particular Salmonella serotype commonly occurs in the United States, some of the cases identified may not be related to this outbreak.

But it also said that illnesses that occurred after Dec. 7 might not be reported yet due to the time it takes between when a person becomes ill and when the illness is reported, which takes an average of 2 to 3 weeks.

Last week Jimmy John’s exec Jimmy John Liautaud asked that alfalfa sprouts be removed from menus at Illinois franchise restaurants as a precautionary measure.  Although Liautaud and Tiny Greens owner Bill Bagby have said tests on their products have been negative for Salmonella, Bagby told USA Today Tuesday that he plans to comply with FDA’s request for a recall.

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