Five of the victims were hospitalized. No deaths have been reported. The illnesses were caused by two strains of Salmonella, but some victims were infected by both.
On August 5, Sprouts Extraordinaire recalled “5-lb Living Alfalfa” sprouts. They were sold at restaurants in Colorado, Kansas, Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Texas, Wyoming and Wisconsin.
The CDC reports the following case count by state:
Case Count: Colorado (13), Kansas (8), Minnesota (1), Missouri (1), Nebraska (2), New York (1), Oregon (1), Texas (1) and Wyoming (1).
The reported illnesses occurred between May 21 and July 20, but it is possible that more recent illnesses have not been reported yet.
Investigators traced the outbreak to Sprouts Extraordinaire after 63% of the 27 sick people who were interviewed reported eating alfalfa sprouts in the week before their illness.
Sprouts are widely regarded as a “healthy” food, but they are actually one of the most common sources of food poisoning. There have been at least 30 outbreaks since 1996.
The problem is that bacteria thrives in the warm, wet conditions that seeds need to grow. Another problem is that sprouts are typically eaten raw. Cooking food at 148°F for three minutes will kill 99% of Salmonella.
People who are infected with Salmonella show symptoms within 12-72 hours — diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and fever. Healthy adults usually recover in a few days without medical treatment. In some cases, infections spread to the bloodstream and cause severe complications or death.