‘Industry standards, inspections, QA andHACCP’ Sprout grower sued for salmonella illness despite soundbites

Coral Beach of The Packer writes that a Rhode Island woman is seeking unspecified damages from Wonton Food Inc. in relation to a salmonella infection she developed after eating the company’s fresh sprouts.

kevin.allen.sproutThe case against the Brooklyn, N.Y.-based company stems from a 2014 salmonella outbreak that sickened at least 115 people in a dozen states, according to reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration. 

Amanda Harris, Middleton, R.I., was among the seven Rhode Island residents who developed salmonella infections from Sept. 30 through Dec. 15, 2014, according to the federal court complaint against Wonton Food.

The company’s website states it operates within “industry standards.”

“Our company participates in the strictest of inspections, from both the U.S. government agencies and our valued customers. We also maintain a top notch quality assurance department that has been formally trained and holds HACCP certifications. We are regularly audited by our customers, and independent third party firms such as Silliker Labs & NSF consistently scoring a ‘Superior’ rating,” according to the Wonton Food website.

The federal civil case against the company challenges the effectiveness of Wonton Food’s food safety.

115 sickened: Multistate outbreak of Salmonella Enteritidis infections linked to bean sprouts (Final update)

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control reports this outbreak appears to be over.

wonton.foodA total of 115 people infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella Enteritidis were reported from 12 states.

Twenty-five percent of ill persons were hospitalized. No deaths were reported.  

Collaborative investigation efforts of state, local, and federal public health and regulatory agencies indicated that bean sprouts produced by Wonton Foods, Inc. were the likely source of this outbreak.

In interviews, 61 (72%) of 85 ill persons reported eating bean sprouts or menu items containing bean sprouts in the week before becoming ill.

In November 2014, Wonton Foods Inc. agreed to destroy any remaining products while they conducted a thorough cleaning and sanitization and implemented other Salmonella control measures at their firm. The firm resumed shipment of bean sprouts on November 29, 2014.

Contaminated bean sprouts produced by Wonton Foods, Inc. are likely no longer available for purchase or consumption given the maximum 12-day shelf life of mung bean sprouts.

sprouts.kevinAlthough this outbreak appears to be over, sprouts are a known source of foodborne illness. CDC recommends that consumers, restaurants, and other retailers always follow food safety practices to avoid illness from eating sprouts.

Be aware that children, older adults, pregnant women, and persons with weakened immune systems should avoid eating raw sprouts of any kind (including alfalfa, clover, radish, and mung bean sprouts).

We count 61 outbreaks associated with raw sprouts, sickening at least 11,179.