Onion sprouts recalled following salmonella tests

08/21/2009 04:13:16 PM
Ashley Bentley

Consumers in Canada are being warned to avoid some Sprouts Alive brand onion sprout products from Living Foods Ltd., Innisfail, Alberta, because of a confirmed salmonella contamination.

Living Foods is recalling two Sprouts Alive products, a 2.5-ounce pack of baby onion sprouts and a 130-gram pack of alfalfa and onion sprouts, with “best before” dates up to and including Aug. 28, according to a release from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

Sprouts Alive and Sun Sprout brand onion sprouts were recalled Aug. 9 from a different manufacturer, Sunsprout Natural Foods, Brantford, Ontario. The same seed lot was used for both manufacturers’ products, and salmonella tests came up positive for them all, said Garfield Balsom, food safety and recall specialist for the food inspection agency.

After an outbreak of Salmonella Cubana started this spring, the agency was alerted by the Public Health Agency of Canada to begin tracing what could have caused the illnesses.

Balsom could not say whether any specific seed manufacturer was suspect, but said that the agency continues to look into both seed manufacturers and sprout manufacturers in its investigation.

There were 12 confirmed cases of Salmonella Cubana as of Aug. 20, according to Public Health Agency of Canada, seven in Ontario and five in Alberta. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency reported the Sprouts Alive products from Living Foods were distributed in Alberta, and possibly in British Columbia, Manitoba and Saskatchewan, while the products from Sunsprout Natural Foods were distributed in Ontario and the Maritimes, and may have been sold in Quebec.

Balsom said the agency has not confirmed yet whether the strain of salmonella found on the sprouts is Salmonella Cubana.

The report from the Public Health Agency said “a few of the people who became ill have reported eating these sprouts.” The agency is gathering more specific information on the type of sprouts, and trying to determine the source of illness in the remaining cases, according to the report.

Illness onset dates were between April 15 and July 26, according to a Public Health Agency of Canada release.

The Aug. 9 recall included 2.5-ounce packs of Sprouts Alive baby onion sprouts and 4.76-ounce packs of Sun Sprout alfalfa and onion sprouts with “best before” dates up to and including Aug. 27.



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