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Idaho company recalls alfalfa sprouts, citing salmonella threat

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • Evergreen Produce issues a voluntary recall of alfalfa and spicy sprouts
  • The move comes days after warnings from federal health authorities
  • According to the CDC, there are 21 cases in 5 states tied to the sprouts

(CNN) -- A potential salmonella outbreak has prompted a multi-state recall of sprouts, an Idaho food company announced Friday.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration made a formal recall request Monday, urging on its website that people not eat alfalfa or spicy sprouts from Evergreen Fresh Sprouts. The federal agency noted that the salmonella Enteritidis pathogen is different from the E. coli bacteria that has been blamed for at least 47 deaths, and widespread recalls, in Europe.

The next day, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on its website there had been 21 reported cases of salmonella tied to the sprouts, which are also labeled as Evergreen Produce. Nine of those were in Washington state, seven in Montana, three in Idaho, one in North Dakota and one in New Jersey.

Three of those people have been hospitalized, and there have been no deaths, according to the CDC.

Those affected, ranging in age from 12 years old to 77 years old, fell ill between April 12 and June 7. A vast majority, 77%, of those who became sick were female, according to the CDC.

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The recalled sprouts were delivered to four distributors and three retail stores in Idaho and Washington state, Evergreen said in its press release Friday. They include 4-ounce, 16-ounce and 5-pound bags of alfalfa sprouts, plus 4-ounce and 16-ounce bags of spicy sprouts. The expiration dates for all the affected products are between June 22 and July 14.

Evergreen said that authorities determined that all those who fell ill with the salmonella had eaten its sprouts. But the Moyie Springs company said that tests on its products are still pending, and no products have come back positive yet.

According to its website, Evergreen has been family owned and operated since 1990. Besides vegetables, it also distributes fruits, dairy items, pastas and a host of other food products.