E. Coli Food Poisoning Outbreak Linked to Raw Clover Sprouts May 23, 2014 — The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that they are investigating an outbreak of E. coli food poisoning linked to raw clover sprouts from Evergreen Fresh Sprouts.

Sick people reported eating sprouts in sandwiches made at several local food establishments, including Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches, the Pita Pit, and Daanen’s Deli.

At least three people have been sickened in Idaho, and seven in Washington state. Half of them have been hospitalized, but no one has developed Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS), a bleeding disorder in the kidneys that can be life-threatening.

Results from health department investigations have found that 90% of ten people who got sick reported eating raw clover sprouts in the week before getting sick. Onset of illness ranged from May 1 to May 13, 2014.

The strain of E. coli has been identified as STEC 0121, which produces Shiga toxin. The strain is less common than E. coli O157, but both cause a serious illness characterized by bloody diarrhea, severe abdominal pain, nausea, and other symptoms for about a week.

According to the Washington State Department of Health, sprouts are a common source of food poisoning. The seeds and beans need warm, humid conditions to sprout and grow. These conditions are ideal for bacterial growth that is impossible to wash off, but can be killed with thorough cooking. Since 1996, there have been 30 outbreaks of food poisoning linked to sprouts, most involving E. coli and Salmonella.

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