Some alfalfa sprouts may be contaminated with salmonella, health officials warn

The California Department of Public Health on Friday released a warning for consumers not to eat Nature’s Choice, Caldwell Fresh Foods or California Fresh Exotics brands of alfalfa sprouts because they may be contaminated with salmonella, a food pathogen that can cause serious illness.

According to public health officials, Caldwell Fresh Foods of Maywood, Calif., has initiated a voluntary recall of all alfalfa sprouts produced under these brand names because of the potential for them being contaminated.

Alfalfa sprouts from the company’s facility have been linked to illnesses of 23 people in 10 states, including 11 in California. No deaths have been reported.

The latest known onset of illness was May 2 and a high proportion of those who have become sick have reported eating raw alfalfa sprouts, public health officials said.

Salmonellosis is an acute bacterial infection that can cause diarrhea, fever and vomiting. Symptoms usually develop within one to four days after eating contaminated food.

The recalled alfalfa sprouts are packaged in 4-ounce plastic cups and one pound plastic bags under the Caldwell Fresh Foods brand; 4-ounce plastic cups under the Nature’s Choice brand; 5-ounce plastic clamshell containers under the California Fresh Exotics brand; and 2-pound and 5 pound plastic bags in cardboard boxes with a Caldwell Fresh Foods sticker.

To see photos of the product labeling, go to http://www.cdph.ca.gov/pubsforms/Documents/fdbFrCFFa.pdf.