Raw bean sprouts cause salmonella outbreak in Eastern US

Another outbreak of salmonella occurred with bean sprouts in the U.S.

Another outbreak of salmonella occurred with bean sprouts in the U.S.

A recent outbreak of salmonella spread across 10 different states was linked to raw sprouts. the U.S. Centers for Disease Control explained that at least 63 people were affected, The Associated Press reported.

Company agrees to halt production
Wonton Foods Inc. based in Brooklyn agreed to stop its sprout production until the CDC can get the situation under control. Raw sprouts have been in the headlines recently as two deaths were reported from listeria and three major illnesses came from mung bean sprout consumption this summer in the Midwest.

"[The company] has verbally agreed to voluntarily stop the production and sale of their bean sprouts while they take steps to prevent Salmonella contamination," the CDC report explained.

There were also 19 E. coli reports linked to clover sprouts in some of the Western states earlier in May, the AP reported. One of the biggest reasons why sprouts make their appearance in food outbreak headlines is because of the fact they are grown in warm and moist environments. These conditions make it extraordinarily easy for bacteria to grow and mix with the sprouts.

More regulations likely instituted for raw sprouts
According to FoodSafety.gov, there were at least 30 outbreaks of foodborne illnesses reported with various types of raw and lightly cooked sprouts since 1996. E. coli and salmonella caused the majority of the sickness incidents.

As recently as 1999, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration increased the regulations around sprouts to limit outbreaks and contaminated products. However, the FDA and multiple other state-operated associations are working on improving the regulations for sprouts even more, the source reported.

Almost 80 percent of those who reported illnesses that were interviewed by the CDC said they consumed bean sprouts or items with bean sprouts in the week prior to their sickness, the AP reported. Salmonella can develop within 12 to 72 hours after infection and cause abdominal pain, fever or diarrhea. For most sick patients, the infection lasts between four and seven days, and most people recover without any significant treatment or medication.

East Coast sees most incidents
The reported illnesses were between September and the beginning of November. According to the AP, the following states reported incidents: Maine, Massachusetts, Montana, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont.

According to Kitchen Daily, bean sprouts should be cooked thoroughly before consumption. Also, consumers are highly encouraged to ask servers and cooks at restaurants to not serve raw bean sprouts on their dishes or in the food.

The CDC reported the person sick in Montana returned home after a recent trip to the East Coast and all reports linked back to the bean sprout supplier in Brooklyn. Food processing facilities have to be extremely cautious with different food types. Up-to-date shell and tube heat exchangers are needed to ensure products are cooked at the right levels to get rid of the appropriate bacteria.

Posted in Regulatory Compliance

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