Alfalfa Sprout Recall in 2001



NUMBER: 27-01
DATE: April 17, 2001

CONTACT: Ken August or
Lea Brooks (916) 657-3064

SACRAMENTO – Fuji Natural Foods of Ontario is recalling all of its alfalfa sprout products because they may be contaminated with Salmonella, a bacteria that causes human illness, State Health Director Diana Bontá, R.N., Dr. P.H., announced today. The manufacturer also is temporarily suspending production of alfalfa sprouts while its production and testing processes are being reviewed.

While no illnesses have been associated with lots covered by the recall, the California Department of Health Services (CDHS) is investigating an outbreak of Salmonella illnesses associated with Fuji alfalfa sprouts from another lot, which is no longer in the marketplace. Twenty-two cases of illness were reported from 12 California counties and one from Arizona between Feb. 2 and March 26.

The recalled products were distributed to wholesalers, grocery stores, delis and restaurants in California, Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico. The recall includes alfalfa sprout-containing products bearing the “Fuji Natural Foods” logo or “The Sprout Factory,” “Alfalfa Sprouts – Always Fresh – Calco Farms” and “Young and Tender Living Alfalfa Sprouts” brand names. Labels bearing the “Spicy Sprouts,” “Alfalfa Sprouts” or “Zesty Sprouts” name with the Fuji Natural Foods logo are included in this recall. The amount of sprouts being recalled is under investigation.

These products were distributed in the following sizes and containers:

    • 4-ounce and 6-ounce plastic cups.
    • 6-ounce, 1-pound and 3-pound plastic bags.
    • 2-pound and 5-pound plastic trays.
    • 4-pound boxes (consisting of two 2-pound trays).
    • 5-pound boxes.

Consumers who have purchased these products should not eat them and are urged to discard them or return them to the point of purchase for a refund.

Of the illnesses reported from the previous lot of sprouts, five were from Los Angeles County, four from San Diego County, two each from San Bernardino, San Luis Obispo and Ventura counties, and one each from Contra Costa, Humboldt, Kern, Marin, Orange, Riverside and San Mateo counties. Individuals from Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties were hospitalized, but have since been released. No one died.

Salmonella is a bacteria which can cause gastrointestinal illness in healthy individuals. Symptoms frequently include diarrhea, abdominal cramps and fever. Although rare, more serious infections and fatalities do occur, particularly in young children, the elderly or others with weakened immune systems. Consumers with any of these symptoms should consult with their physician.

CDHS and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) previously have issued consumer advisories regarding the potential risks associated with eating alfalfa and clover sprouts. Children, the elderly and individuals with weakened immune systems should not eat any raw sprouts. Healthy individuals also can become ill from raw sprouts.

For additional information concerning this recall, please contact Fuji Natural Foods at 909-947-1008.