June 11, 2014 — Unsanitary conditions have been observed at a facility that produces raw clover sprouts that were linked to at least 17 cases of E. coli food poisoning.
The outbreak has been linked to sprouts from Evergreen Fresh Sprouts, LLC, of Moyie Springs, Idaho. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) inspected the facilities on three occasions in May and June.
According to the Consumer Update, inspectors found evidence of unsanitary conditions:
- Apparent mold growth and dripping condensate on a water pipe that had separated from the drywall and was attached to the watering system in the sprout growing/harvesting room.
- Condensate dripping directly into sprouting vats containing growing sprouts.
- Two employees using tennis rackets with scratches, chips, frayed plastic, and sponge-type handles to scoop mung bean sprouts from the water in the harvester.
- An employee using a pitchfork with visible corroded metal and rough welds to transfer mung bean sprouts into plastic tubs.
- An employee was using a squeegee with visible corroded metal and non-treated wood to agitate mung beans soaking inside the mung bean seed soak vat.
- And more
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says that 17 cases of E. coli O121 have been reported in five states since June 9, 2014. About 47% of victims were hospitalized, but fortunately no deaths or cases of Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS) have been reported.
At least 12 victims reported eating raw clover sprouts before getting sick. The sprouts were eaten at sandwich shops, including Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches and Pita Pit, in Washington and Idaho. The restaurants where illnesses occurred have stopped serving raw sprouts.
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