Sweetwater Farms Recalls Salmonella Infected Alfalfa Sprouts


Santa Clara, CA: The US Food and Drug Administration together with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and state and local officials are investigating a multi-state outbreak of food poisoning caused by Salmonella Muenchen illnesses linked to alfalfa sprouts produced by Sweetwater Farms LLC, Inman, Kansas.

The CDC reports that 13 people were infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella Muenchen in four states: Kansas (5), Missouri (3), Oklahoma (3), and Pennsylvania (2). Five people have been hospitalized. Reported illness onset dates range from December 1, 2015 through January 21, 2016.

Collaborative investigation efforts of the FDA, CDC, Kansas Department of Health and Environment, Kansas Department of Agriculture, and Oklahoma Department of Health indicate that sprouts produced by Sweetwater Farms LLC are the likely source of this outbreak. Irrigation water and alfalfa sprout samples collected by the FDA from Sweetwater Farms LLC tested positive for Salmonella. Testing to identify the specific strain of Salmonella is ongoing.

On February 19, 2016, after discussions with the FDA and other federal, state, and local agencies, Sweetwater Farms LLC voluntarily recalled alfalfa sprouts from lot 042016. On February 26, 2016, Sweetwater Farms informed the FDA that it would recall all of its sprout products from the market. The FDA is working with the company and Kansas officials to facilitate this action. The investigation is ongoing.

Most people infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps12 to 72 hours after infection. The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days, and most people recover without treatment.

In some people, the diarrhea may be so severe that they need to be hospitalized. In these patients, the Salmonella infection may spread from the intestines to the blood stream, and then to other body sites and can cause death unless the person is treated promptly with antibiotics.

Children are the most likely to get salmonellosis. The rate of diagnosed infections in children less than five years old is higher than the rate in all other people. Children younger than five, the elderly, and those people with weakened immune systems are more likely to have severe infections. It is estimated that approximately 400 persons in the United States die each year with acute salmonellosis. Children, the elderly, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems should avoid eating raw sprouts of any kind.



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