Alfalfa Sprouts Sicken 13 in Washington and Oregon

OLYMPIA, Wash. -- State health officials believe alfalfa sprouts are connected to an outbreak of Salmonella that’s sickened nine people in our state and four in Oregon.

The outbreak has been tied to alfalfa sprouts from Sprouters Northwest, Inc. in Kent. The company has agreed to voluntarily recall the product and has stopped distributing it. The sprouts are sold in a variety of package sizes labeled “Alfalfa Sprouts,” or as mixed varieties that contain alfalfa sprouts as an ingredient.

People should not eat any products from Sprouters Northwest that contain alfalfa sprouts. Discard them immediately or return them to the store.

The first cases of Salmonella Typhimurium were reported in early August. People have been sickened in Clark, Island, King, Pierce, Snohomish, Thurston, and Whatcom counties. At least two have required hospitalization.

Salmonellosis is a common infection; there are usually about 600 to 800 cases reported each year in our state. It can cause diarrhea, fever, and vomiting. Symptoms usually develop within one to five days after eating contaminated food. Most people usually get better on their own.

The recalled sprouts were distributed to grocery stores, and possibly other retail outlets in Washington and Oregon.

The Department of Health urges restaurants and delicatessens to check their stock immediately and pull any of the recalled products. Retailers and wholesalers that have any of the recalled sprouts should separate them from other produce and contact their supplier.

People who have eaten sprouts and developed symptoms should contact their healthcare provider. Salmonellosis can cause serious illness that can lead to hospitalization and even death. The risk is particularly high for the elderly, people with low immune systems, and the very young.