FDA Finds Unsanitary Conditions at Evergreen Fresh SproutsJune 11, 2014 — After an outbreak of E. coli was linked to raw clover sprouts, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says it has found unsanitary conditions at the growing facility.

In a Consumer Update, the FDA described problems found at Evergreen Fresh Sprouts, LLC on three inspections in May and June:

  • Condensate and irrigation water dripping from rusty valves directly into sprouting vats containing growing sprouts.
  • A rusty and corroded mung bean room watering system.
  • Tennis rackets with scratches, chips, and frayed plastic being used to scoop mung bean sprouts from the harvester to the conveyor belt leading to finished product storage bins.
  • A pitchfork with corroded metal being used to transfer mung bean sprouts into plastic tubs during harvest.
  • Squeegee with visible corroded metal and non-treated wood being used to agitate mung bean seeds inside a soak vat.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), since June 9, 2014, a total of 17 people in five states have been infected with E. coli O121. Nearly half of the victims were hospitalized, but no one has developed Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS). In interviews, 12 out of 14 (86%) reported eating raw clover sprouts.

The sprouts were eaten in several food establishments located in Washington or Idaho, including Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches and Pita Pit. The restaurants where cases of food poisoning were reported have agreed to stop serving raw spouts in their sandwiches.

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