Epi doesn’t count; my sprouts are safe

From the continual trashing of the power of epidemiology files, David Scharf, owner of Evergreen Fresh Sprouts, implicated in an E. coli O121 outbreak that has sickened at least 10 people, said state health officials jumped the gun pointing the finger at his business.

“I find that it is very ambiguous to say that my product is bad,” Scharf told The Spokesman-Review.

jimmy.john's.sproutsHe said he tests his sprouts before they leave the warehouse and also tests the spent water, according to federal rules. “I have documentation stating my sprouts are good.”

Officials should keep quiet until they know for certain what the source of the infection is, Scharf added.

“It’s kind of sad that we’re going to put the cart before the horse, really,” he said.

I test and hold product for E. coli and salmonella before I ship. Until they show me a test result I’m not recalling anything.”

Evergreen was singled out in similar investigation in 2011 when the Food and Drug Administration demanded it voluntarily recall products as a salmonella outbreak unfolded, sickening 25 people in five states. Test results showed no bacteria was found in the Evergreen produce at that time, but the FDA stuck by its conclusion the business was the origin of the outbreak.

The clover sprouts suspected in the current E. coli O121 outbreak were eaten in sandwiches at Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches in King and Spokane counties, two Pita Pit locations in Spokane County, and Daanen’s Deli and a Jimmy John’s in Kootenai County, Washington state health officials said. The restaurants voluntarily suspended serving sprouts, officials said.