Thought the ongoing Sprout Saga might interest some of you.
I'm back in the saddle--done been lurkin' since mid-June--and will
update y'all soon.
FOODBORNE HAZARD, SPROUTS, FDA ADVISORY - USA
A ProMED-mail post
Date: Fri, 09 Jul 1999 22:47:29 -0400
From: Marjorie P. Pollack
Source: FDA press release, 9 Jul 1999 <http://www.fda.gov/>
The Food and Drug Administration has issued an updated health advisory to
make all persons aware of the risks associated with the consumption of raw
sprouts (e.g. alfalfa, clover, radish). A previous advisory on this subject
was issued August 31, 1998. FDA advises that persons who wish to reduce the
risk of foodborne illness should not eat or consume raw sprouts. The advice
against consumption is particularly important for persons at high risk of
developing serious illness due to foodborne disease (i.e., children, the
elderly, and persons with weakened immune systems).
Recent outbreaks include:
- - May 1999, approximately 30 cases of salmonellosis associated with the
consumption of clover sprouts in California.
- - March-May, 1999, approximately 70 cases of salmonellosis associated with
the consumption of clover sprouts in Colorado.
- - January-March 1999, approximately 85 cases of salmonellosis associated
with the consumption of alfalfa sprouts in Oregon, Washington, and California.
- - July 1998, 8 cases of illness attributed to E. coli O157 infection
associated with the consumption of alfalfa/clover sprouts in California and
- - May 1998, 18 cases of salmonellosis associated with the consumption of
alfalfa sprouts in California.
- - Late 1997-July 1998, 60 cases of salmonellosis associated with the
consumption of an alfalfa/clover sprout mixture in California.
FDA has planned immediate preventive measures as follows:
- - FDA will issue national guidance to the industry based on a more thorough
review of the recommendations made in a 1999 report of the National
Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods. This
guidance will focus on microbial testing, sanitation, seed quality as
well as seed treatment strategies with appropriate performance
- - FDA will send investigators to sprout facilities to test water used to
grow sprouts (spent irrigation water which is a good measure of microbial
contamination) for _Salmonella_ and _E. coli_ O157. FDA will also increase
surveillance of sprouting facilities and monitor the extent of industry
adoption of enhanced production practices as recommended in the FDA guidance.
[This alert is a long time in coming as outbreaks associated with sprouts
have been identified for several years. What is not mentioned is the
difficulty in cleaning sprouts, as well as the inability to irradiate the
seeds as a means of reducing bacterial contamination. With irradiation the
sprouts do not germinate, thereby defeating the purpose. This
warning/alert is a necessary first step in reducing the disease burden
caused by raw sprouts. - MPP]
[I have chosen to post only the Fact Sheet from the FDA website because it
presents the essence of the press release. The rest can be viewed at
<http//www.fda.gov>. Cooking of sprouts is also mentioned as a control
measure, but that sounds something like eating canned peas. - Mod.ES]
Center for Integrated Ag Systems, UW-Madison
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