The U.S. Centers for Disease Control reports that on November 7, 2014, Wholesome Soy Products Inc. of Chicago, Ill., agreed to close their facility and to cease production and distribution of sprouts. The facility is no longer in production.
On August 28, 2014, Wholesome Soy Products, Inc. conducted a voluntary recall of mung bean sprouts due to possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination after FDA isolated the pathogen from samples as a result of a routine assignment.
During FDA inspections of the Wholesome Soy Products, Inc. facility in August and October 2014, investigators observed unsanitary conditions, many of which were present during both inspections.
Whole genome sequences of the Listeria strains isolated from mung bean sprouts produced by Wholesome Soy Products, Inc. and environmental isolates collected at the production facility were found to be highly related to sequences of Listeria strains isolated from five people who became ill from June through August 2014.
These five ill people were reported from two states: Illinois (4) and Michigan (1).
All ill people were hospitalized. Two deaths were reported.
The two people interviewed reported eating bean sprouts.
Although limited information is available about the specific sprout products that ill people consumed, the whole genome sequencing findings, together with the sprout consumption history of two patients and inspection findings at the firm, suggest that these illnesses could be related to products from Wholesome Soy Products, Inc.
CDC recommends that consumers, restaurants, and other retailers always follow food safety practices to avoid illness from contaminated sprouts.
Make sure that children, older adults, pregnant women, and persons with weakened immune systems avoid eating raw sprouts of any kind (including alfalfa, clover, radish, and mung bean sprouts).
Cook sprouts thoroughly to reduce the risk of illness. Cooking sprouts thoroughly kills any harmful bacteria.