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FDA NEWS RELEASE

For Immediate Release: May 21, 2010
Media Inquiries: Michael Herndon, 301-796-4673, michael.herndon@fda.hhs.gov
Consumer Inquiries: 888-INFO-FDA

Urgent Nationwide Alfalfa Sprout Recall
Raw Alfalfa Sprouts Linked to Salmonella Outbreak in 10 States

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Fast Facts
• This recall affects raw alfalfa sprouts packaged and labeled as: Caldwell Fresh Foods alfalfa sprouts - 4-ounce plastic cups and one pound plastic bags and in 2-pound and 5-pound plastic bags in cardboard boxes with sticker affixed with the printed words “Caldwell Fresh Foods”; Nature’s Choice alfalfa sprouts - 4-ounce plastic cups; California Exotics brands alfalfa sprouts - 5-ounce plastic clamshell containers. No other alfalfa sprouts are implicated in the outbreak.
• The recalled products have been linked to an outbreak of Salmonella Newport infections in consumers in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Missouri, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, and Wisconsin.
• The sprouts were distributed to a variety of restaurants, delicatessens and retailers, including Trader Joe's and Wal-Mart stores.
• Salmonella is a bacterium that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems.
• Consumers and restaurant and delicatessen operators should not purchase, eat or use raw sprouts from Caldwell Fresh Foods. The sprouts should be returned to the place of purchase for a refund and disposal.
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What is the Problem? – Caldwell Fresh Foods of Maywood, Calif., is voluntarily recalling all of its alfalfa sprouts marketed under the Caldwell Fresh Foods, Nature’s Choice, and California Exotics brands. The firm’s alfalfa sprouts have been linked to an outbreak of Salmonella Newport infections in consumers in ten states. As of May 20 and since March 1, 2010, a total of 22 cases of Salmonella Newport infections have been confirmed in Arizona (1), California (11), Colorado (1), Idaho (1), Illinois (1), Missouri (1), New Mexico (1), Nevada (2), Oregon (1), and Wisconsin (2). Six of the cases have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.

What are the Symptoms of Illness/Injury? – Salmonella is a bacterium that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy persons infected with Salmonella often experience fever, diarrhea (which may be bloody), nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. Consumers who are experiencing these symptoms should seek medical attention.

Who is at Risk? – All consumers and restaurant/delicatessen operators should immediately stop using Caldwell Fresh Foods raw alfalfa sprouts. FDA reminds consumers that children, the elderly, pregnant women and persons with weakened immune systems should avoid eating raw sprouts of any kind (including alfalfa, clover, radish and mung bean sprouts). More information for consumers about avoiding the risks associated with eating sprouts is available at www.foodsafety.gov.

What Do the Products Look Like? - The recalled alfalfa sprouts are labeled and packaged as follows:
• Caldwell Fresh Foods - 4-ounce plastic cups and one-pound plastic bags, and 2-pound and 5-pound plastic bags in cardboard boxes with sticker affixed with the printed words “Caldwell Fresh Foods”
• Nature’s Choice - 4-ounce plastic cups
• California Exotics brands - 5-ounce plastic clamshell containers

Where are they Distributed? – The sprouts were distributed to a variety of restaurants, delicatessens and retailers including Trader Joe's and Wal-Mart stores.

What is Being Done about the Problem? – FDA is investigating the outbreak in cooperation with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the California Department of Public Health, and public health agencies in other affected states. FDA, with the California Department of Public Health, is inspecting the firm’s facility and collecting samples. Caldwell Fresh Foods is cooperating in the investigation and has recalled all of its alfalfa sprouts from commerce.

FDA reminds sprout producers that the likelihood of Salmonella and other pathogens in sprouts can be reduced by employing preventive controls contained in FDA’s Sprout Guidance

How was the Outbreak Detected? – Cooperative investigation by state and local health departments and CDC have linked the outbreak to consumption of Caldwell Fresh Foods’ alfalfa sprouts. Some outbreak patients reported eating sprouts at restaurants; others purchased the sprouts at retail outlets.

The information in this press release reflects FDA’s best efforts to communicate what the manufacturer has reported to FDA.

For more information on foodborne illness: http://www.foodsafety.gov/.



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