Wednesday, June 29, 2011

"UPDATED July 20, 2011: FDA: Don't Eat EVERGREEN PRODUCE Brand Alfalfa & Spicy SPROUTS Contaminated With Salmonella Enteritidis in Idaho, Montana, New Jersey, North Dakota & Washington State" By Reverend Barbara Sexton "The Biblical Biochemist-Where Science Meets the Cross"

UPDATE July 20, 2011 From Rev. Barb:
On July 1, 2011, Idaho-Evergreen Fresh Sprouts, LLC FINALLY initiated a 'voluntary recall' of its alfalfa and spicy sprouts.
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Dear Readers:
     It is always difficult to 'localize' food-borne illness outbreaks in 'real time'.
     Therefore, although the following alert at present applies 'only' to Idaho, Montana, New Jersey, North Dakota and Washington State, I urge residents of ALL STATES to take care and STAY AWAY FROM ALFALFA SPROUTS...for the time-being, anyway.
     Hydroponic gardening at it's inception was an innovative 'clean' way to cultivate many foods enjoyed by those concerned with maintaining their good health.
     But the big drawback to hydroponics is that by it's very nature, water tanks used for cultivation are VERY prone to all sorts of microbial contamination.
     In fact, anyone who has ever been engaged in and/or has been responsible for 'water quality/purity/safety' (as I have been in manufacturing plants, labs and certain medical settings) can tell you that WATER is a most gracious 'culture medium' for bad bacteria if ever there was one!
     It's very difficult to keep water in large quantities free of pathogens, especially in cases where a suitable 'preservative system' cannot be employed.
     The fact is that in the alfalfa & spicy sprout situation here, it is reasonable to suggest that the affected sprouts were contaminated at their point of origin.
     At least that's what the FDA believes, while Evergreen Produce begs to differ!
     With all due respect to the small Evergreen Produce company, there is only one way to go and that is to cooperate with the FDA and other federal authorities.  It is the company's 'moral and legal responsibility' to do so and I say this having had years of experience interacting with the FDA in industry.
     Evergreen Produce will have to explain what happened to the FDA and we will stay on top of this story.  Amazingly, the company (Evergreen) is refusing to accept responsibility and to initiate a recall, so for now, the consumer is on his and her own.
     If there ever were a time when the consumer must do the utmost to protect him and herself, this is it!
     It may seem to you that our foodstocks are reportedly becoming more and more contaminated with things like Salmonella, Listeria, and E. coli spp.  This is NOT your imagination.
     Indeed, over the years the occasional contamination situations have become rather endemic within certain food groups, with a high proportion of both poultry and vegetables being contaminated with Salmonella, for instance.
      It hardly matters how Salmonella 'infected' that first chicken (or that first egg?) and how it managed to invade vegetable cultivation to the person suffering from a bad case of Salmonellosis.
      Still, the study continues and we all must be cautious in our eating habits.
      Personally, I've enjoyed the refreshing taste of sprouts of all kinds, but between this FDA notice and the STEC O104:H4 (E. coli) contamination of sprouts in the EU (a totally different situation and different pathogen, by the way, as I will explain in my next article), I've 'lost my taste' for them...and I hope you have, too...for the time being, anyway, as I said above.
     Check here often and check the FDA 'sprouts link' also: www.foodsafety.gov/keep/types/fruits/sprouts.html
     Coming up shortly at www.DearOnesHealingMinistry.blogspot.com will be a companion piece to this one, where I will explain the specifics from the point-of-view of the CDC, who is also now involved in this alfalfa and spicy sprouts investigation.
     And if you'd like Rev. Barb's FREE NEWSLETTER with pertinent health updates emailed to you, you can sign up below.
God Bless & Keep You
Reverend Barbara Sexton
"The Biblical Biochemist-Where Science Meets the Cross"
FDA PRESS RELEASE  

LINK: http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm260836.htm

Update June 28, 2011: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are currently a total of 21 reported cases, including 3 hospitalizations, of Salmonella Enteritidis. More information can be found in the CDC press release.

For Immediate Release: June 27, 2011
Media Inquiries: Stephanie Yao, 301-796-0394, stephanie.yao@fda.hhs.gov
Consumer Inquiries: 888-INFO-FDA

FDA: Do not eat Evergreen Produce brand alfalfa sprouts or spicy sprouts
Sprouts may contain Salmonella Enteritidis; pathogen different from the one in European outbreak

Fast Facts
  • The FDA is warning consumers not to eat alfalfa sprouts or spicy sprouts from plastic bags labeled “Evergreen Produce” or “Evergreen Produce Inc.”
  • The sprouts are possibly linked to 20 reported cases, including one hospitalization, of Salmonella Enteritidis in Idaho, Montana, New Jersey, North Dakota and Washington State.
  • The elderly, infants and those with impaired immune systems are more likely to have a severe illness from Salmonella infection.
  • Consumers, retailers and others who have alfalfa sprouts or spicy sprouts in plastic bags labeled “Evergreen Produce” or “Evergreen Produce Inc.” should discard them in a sealed container so people and animals, including wild animals, cannot eat them.
What is the Problem? The FDA is advising consumers not to eat Evergreen Produce brand alfalfa sprouts and spicy sprouts. The sprouts are possibly linked to 20 reported cases, including one hospitalization, of Salmonella Enteritidis in Idaho, Montana, New Jersey, North Dakota and Washington State. The strain of S. Enteritidis is rarely seen at this frequency.
The pathogen associated with this outbreak is different from the pathogen associated with the outbreak in Europe.

What are the Symptoms of Illness/Injury?
Most persons infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection. The illness usually lasts four to seven days, and most persons recover without treatment. However, some individuals may require hospitalization from severe diarrhea. Salmonella infection may spread from the intestines to the blood stream and then to other body sites. It can cause death unless the person is treated promptly with antibiotics. The elderly, infants and those with impaired immune systems are more likely to become severely ill from Salmonella infection.

Who is at Risk?The elderly, infants and those with impaired immune systems are more likely to become severely ill from Salmonella infection. The bacterium can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in these vulnerable populations. Most healthy individuals recover from Salmonella infections within four to seven days without treatment.

What Do Consumers Need To Do? 
Consumers should not eat alfalfa sprouts or spicy sprouts from plastic bags labeled “Evergreen Produce” or “Evergreen Produce Inc.” Consumers, retailers and others who have sprouts in plastic bags labeled “Evergreen Produce” or “Evergreen Produce Inc.” should throw them away in a sealed container so people and animals, including wild animals, cannot eat them. 
Consumers who think they may have become ill from eating possibly contaminated sprouts should consult their health care providers.
Sprouts are a known source of foodborne illness. Since 1996, there have been at least 30 reported outbreaks of foodborne illness associated with different types of raw and lightly cooked sprouts. Most of these outbreaks were caused by Salmonella and E. coli. The FDA advises that children, the elderly, pregnant women, and persons with weakened immune systems should avoid eating raw sprouts of any kind (including alfalfa, clover, radish and mung bean sprouts). To reduce the chance of foodborne illness, FDA advises consumers to cook sprouts thoroughly and to request raw sprouts not be added to your food.

What Does the Product Look Like? The possibly contaminated alfalfa sprouts and spicy sprouts are sold in plastic bags labeled “Evergreen Produce” or “Evergreen Produce Inc.”
The alfalfa sprouts are packaged in 4-ounce and 16-ounce plastic bags with pre-printed labels. They are also packaged in 1-pound and 5-pound plastic bags with stick-on labels.
The spicy sprouts are packaged in 4-ounce plastic bags with pre-printed labels and 1-pound plastic bags with stick-on labels.

Where is it Distributed? To date, the FDA is aware of distribution in Idaho, Montana and Washington State. However, consumers and retailers in neighboring states should check the product label to ensure they are not eating or selling Evergreen Produce brand alfalfa sprouts or spicy sprouts.

What is Being Done about the Problem? FDA is investigating the problem in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and public health agencies in those states where illnesses have occurred. The investigation is ongoing. The FDA is also working with state authorities to take appropriate action to address any product that may be remaining on the market.

Who Should be Contacted?Consumers with questions about sprout safety should contact 1-800-SAFEFOOD.
The information in this press release reflects the FDA’s best efforts to communicate what it has learned from the manufacturer and the state and local public health agencies involved in the investigation. The agency will update this page as more information becomes available.

For more information:
Please be careful with these sprouts!
God Bless You
Reverend Barbara Sexton
"The Biblical Biochemist-Where Science Meets the Cross"
www.DearOnesHealingMinistry.blogspot.com 

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