Fullei Fresh is recalling Alfalfa Sprouts after FDA testing finds  Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC.)

According to the recall, it is a strain of E. coli which is not part of the company’s routine E. coli O157:H7 and Salmonella testing which is normally conducted on every lot produced. 

The recalled products were shipped to distributors and retailers in Florida between Dec. 9-23, 2022. 

This month, the FDA conducted an unannounced inspection of Fullei Fresh. 108 listeria swabs were taken and all were negative. They also pulled 34 samples of bean sprouts and 34 samples of alfalfa sprouts. The bean sprouts were all negative. At first, the alfalfa was placed on hold as the initial report “could not rule out” a pathogen. Then the firm was told the results were negative and informed customers to resume distribution. Then the FDA issued an apology stating that the results were still pending and again to hold distribution. A few days later, the firm received a report without any explanation or instructions which stated “STEC recovered. No EHEC detected. No Salmonella spp. detected. No listeria spp. detected.” It was discovered in 2 out of 34 samples tested by the FDA.

Recalled Product:

  • The affected Fullei Fresh brand alfalfa sprout lot number is 336. 
  • The lot numbers are printed on the 8-ounce retail packs and on 5 lb. bulk cardboard boxes in the barcode.

As of the posting of this recall, there have been no known illnesses reported to date in connection with this product.

Consumers with the recalled products should discard them.

“It is very unfortunate that there has been confusion and misunderstanding regarding this specific product and lot,” the company said in their release. “Fullei Fresh is doing their best to remedy the situation and communicate with all parties involved.”

About E. coli infections

Anyone who has eaten any of the implicated sprouts and developed symptoms of E. coli infection should seek medical attention and tell their doctor about their possible exposure to the bacteria. Specific tests are required to diagnose the infections, which can mimic other illnesses.

The symptoms of E. coli infections vary for each person but often include severe stomach cramps and diarrhea, which is often bloody. Some patients may also have a fever. Most patients recover within five to seven days. Others can develop severe or life-threatening symptoms and complications, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

About 5 to 10 percent of those diagnosed with E. coli infections develop a potentially life-threatening kidney failure complication, known as a hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). Symptoms of HUS include fever, abdominal pain, feeling very tired, decreased frequency of urination, small unexplained bruises or bleeding, and pallor. 

Many people with HUS recover within a few weeks, but some suffer permanent injuries or death. This condition can occur among people of any age but is most common in children younger than five years old because of their immature immune systems, older adults because of deteriorating immune systems, and people with compromised immune systems such as cancer patients. 

People who experience HUS symptoms should immediately seek emergency medical care. People with HUS will likely be hospitalized because the condition can cause other serious and ongoing problems such as hypertension, chronic kidney disease, brain damage, and neurologic problems.

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