December 17, 2014 — The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has confirmed that 111 people in 12 states have been sickened with food poisoning after eating bean sprouts contaminated with Salmonella.
The statistics were updated on December 15. Since the last update on December 4, there have been 24 additional illnesses reported in Connecticut (1), Maine (1), Maryland (5), New Hampshire (2), New York (7), Pennsylvania (7), and Rhode Island (1).
The date of illness onset ranges from September 30 to November 22, 2014. Of the people who were sickened, 26% have been hospitalized and no deaths have been reported. The outbreak strain is Salmonella Enteritidis.
The CDC believes all of the contaminated bean sprouts are past their 12-day expiration date.
The outbreak has been traced to Wonton Foods, Inc., of Brooklyn, New York. The company never issued a recall, but cooperated with health officials and temporarily halted production while they cleaned and sanitized their operations. On November 24, Wonton Foods resumed production.
The CDC recommends that children, pregnant women, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems should avoid eating raw sprouts of any kind. In the last two decades, at least 30 outbreaks of food poisoning have been traced to sprouts.
The problem is that bacteria thrives in the warm, moist conditions that seeds require to sprout. Another problem is that sprouts are often eaten raw. Thoroughly cooking sprouts will kill most disease-causing bacteria.
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