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Thirteen people -- nine in Washington and four in Oregon – have been infected with Salmonella Typhimurium, most likely from eating alfalfa sprouts that have been traced back to Sprouters Northwest, Inc.
The Kent, Wash. Company, whose Sprouters Northwest brand includes all lot numbers with a best by date of 9/17/08, has recalled the product and halted distribution. The recalled sprouts were distributed in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Alaska in retail stores and through wholesale produce suppliers.
Sprouts are the number-two carrier for produce outbreaks, after leafy greens, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Sprouts are often called a “stealth” vehicle for infection because consumers aren't always even aware that they’re eating them; sprouts are often added to salads or sandwiches and hardly noticed, said Seattle food borne illness attorney William Marler.
The products involved in the recall are Sprouters Northwest brand, including all lot numbers with a best by date of 9/17/08 or earlier, as follows: 5 oz. alfalfa sprout cups UPC – 033383701417; 4 oz. alfalfa clamshells UPC-815098001088; 1 lb. bags of alfalfa sprouts UPC – 079566123508; 2 lb trays of alfalfa sprouts UPC – 079566123492; 5 oz. salad cups UPC – 033383702674; 4 oz. salad clamshells UPC – 815098002061; 5 oz. alfalfa onion sprout cups UPC – 033383701905; and 4 oz. onion sprout clamshells UPC – 815098002054.
Sprouters Northwest, Inc. said it is working with state officials and the Food and Drug Administration to determine the cause of the contamination.