According to a report published by the US Food and Drug Administration, the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are investigating a multi-state outbreak of Salmonella that has been tied to alfalfa sprouts.
The official announcement published by the FDA shows that the illnesses have been tied to products produced by Sweetwater Farms LLC from Inman, Kansas.
Since the outbreak was first identified, reports show that at least 13 people were infected with Salmonella Muenchen. States impacted include Oklahoma, Missouri, Kansas, and Pennsylvania. Out of the 13 people who fell ill, at least five had to be hospitalized. Consumers who have fallen ill appear to have been exposed between December and January.
The collaborative effort between the FDA and CDC also involves the Kansas Department of Agriculture, the Oklahoma Department of Health, and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. So far, the investigation was able to identify the source of most of the cases. At the moment, officials are investigating the specific strain of Salmonella tied to the outbreaks. After the FDA collected some samples of the products and tested them for Salmonella, the company launched a voluntary recall once the FDA reported that the samples were tested positive for Salmonella. Products tied to the recall come from the lot 042016.
Consumers who are exposed to Salmonella usually experience diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever. The illness often lasts 4 to 7 days. While most healthy consumers recover without any major issues, many, of those who are exposed to the bacteria have compromised or weak immune systems. To vulnerable consumers, Salmonella may even lead to life-threatening illnesses.
Children and the elderly are often the most vulnerable, experts say. Since the rates of diagnosed infections tied to Salmonella is high among children who are younger than 5, consumers should stay alert in case their children become showing signs they may have been infected.
Retailers and restaurants that are concerned with the high rates of illness and infection should make sure display cases, utensils, refrigerators, cutting boards, and surfaces are thoroughly sanitized. Make sure the staff always washes their hands with hot water and soap, especially after the cleaning and sanitation process.
Retailers and restaurants that suspect they may have processed or packaged contaminated foods should be particularly concerned about cross contamination of cutting surfaces and utensils. Putting food safety practices first will help to keep you and your loved ones safe.
For more on this investigation, follow this link for more.