9 sick with E. coli O157: Jack & The Green Sprouts

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that nine people infected with the outbreak strain of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli O157 (STEC O157) have been reported from two states: Minnesota (7) and Wisconsin (2).

Jack & The Green SproutsTwo ill people have been hospitalized. No one has developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure, and no deaths have been reported.

Collaborative investigative efforts of state, local, and federal public health and regulatory officials indicate that alfalfa sprouts produced by Jack & The Green Sprouts of River Falls, Wisconsin are a likely source of this outbreak. These sprouts may be contaminated with STECO157 and are not safe to eat.

Of the eight people interviewed, all eight (100%) ill people reported eating or maybe eating alfalfa sprouts or menu items containing alfalfa sprouts in the week before they became ill.

Illnesses started on dates ranging from January 17, 2016 to February 8, 2016. Ill people range in age from 17 years to 84, with a median age of 28. Sixty-six percent of ill people are female.

State and local health and regulatory officials performed traceback investigations from seven different locations where ill people ate or bought alfalfa sprouts. These investigations indicated that Jack & The Green Sprouts supplied alfalfa sprouts to all seven locations.

We recommend that consumers do not eat and restaurants and other retailers do not sell or serve alfalfa sprouts produced by Jack & The Green Sprouts at this time.

This outbreak does not appear to be related to the ongoing multistate outbreak of Salmonella Muenchen infections linked to alfalfa sprouts produced by Sweetwater Farms of Inman, Kansas.

This investigation is ongoing, and we will update the public when more information becomes available.

9 sick with E. coli O157: Sprouts strike again and again and again

A day after publicly announcing that nine people were sick from Salmonella in sprouts in Kansas and Oklahoma, nine people have been sickened with E. coli O157:H7 in alfalfa sprouts in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Jack & The Green SproutsMinnesota health and agriculture officials are looking into an outbreak of foodborne illness tied to alfalfa sprouts produced by the firm Jack & The Green Sprouts.

Routine disease monitoring identified seven cases of E. coli in January and early February, all with the same DNA fingerprint, the Minnesota Health Department said in a statement Wednesday. The illness affected people ages 18 to 84; five were female. Four were in the Twin Cities metro area, with three in greater Minnesota. Two were hospitalized, and all have recovered, the department said.

Two additional Wisconsin cases were considered part of the outbreak, but no one was hospitalized.

Sprouts are a well-known source of foodborne illness, and epidemiologist Amy Saupe said there aren’t many ways to minimize the risk.

“It can’t be washed off, so even if people are being diligent and washing their sprouts prior to eating them, that won’t actually help at all to remove any of that bacterial contamination,” she said. “They can be thoroughly cooked before eating them, that can lower the risk. However these particular sprouts should definitely not be eaten at all.”

Jack & The Green Sprouts is based in River Falls, Wis., and distributes alfalfa sprouts to states in the upper Midwest and possibly other states. Minnesota health officials urged retailers and restaurants to not sell or serve alfalfa sprouts produced by Jack & The Green Sprouts and said consumers should not eat them at this time.

“The seven Minnesota cases and at least one of the Wisconsin cases were exposed to implicated alfalfa sprouts from a variety of locations, including grocery/cooperative stores, restaurants, salad bars and commercial food service,” the state health agency said.

A table of sprout-related outbreaks can be found at https://barfblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Sprout-associated-outbreaks-2-24-16.xlsx