The Idaho sprouts grower who put her foot down, refusing to announce a recall after public health authorities said her sprouts were likely making people sick, relented on Friday.
Nadine Scharf of Evergreen Sprouts, based in Moyie Springs, Idaho, agreed to recall alfalfa sprouts and spicy sprouts that have been implicated in a Salmonella outbreak that has sickened 21 people in Washington, Montana, Idaho, North Dakota and New Jersey, and sent three people to the hospital.
In the recall announcement, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), stated, “While no samples of Evergreen sprouts have tested positive for Salmonella at this time, epidemiological evidence indicates that Evergreen Produce Alfalfa Sprouts and Spicy Sprouts are the common food eaten by the people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella enteritidis. Tests of Evergreen sprouts are still pending.”
The epidemiological evidence is compelling, the FDA told Food Safety News. Of the first 13 illnesses reported in this outbreak, nine of the case patients reported eating alfalfa sprouts during the week before the onset of their symptoms. Because typically only 4.8 percent of Northwest residents eat sprouts (4.4 percent in the United States as a whole), that 69 percent exposure rate is significant.
The recalled sprouts were distributed in Washington and Idaho by direct delivery to four distributors and three retail stores. The packages display expiration dates from June 22 through July 14. The products being recalled are identified as:
• Alfalfa Sprouts, Evergreen Produce, 4 oz. bag, UPC 8 38796 00103 7.
• Alfalfa Sprouts, Evergreen Produce, 16 oz. bag, UPC 8 38796 00108 2.
• Alfalfa Sprouts, Evergreen Produce, 5 lb. bag, no UPC.
• Spicy Sprouts, Evergreen Produce, 4 oz. bag, UPC 8 38796 00102 0.
• Spicy Sprouts, Evergreen Produce, 16 oz. or 5 lb. bag, no UPC.
The FDA has advised people to discard the recalled sprouts.
Consumers can contact Nadine Scharf at 208-267-4258 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 a.m. (PST).