Update On Australian Alfalfa Sprout Outbreak and Recall


International Specialty Supply

July 25, 2006

Update on Australian Alfalfa Sprout Outbreak and Recall

According to individuals close to the investigation of the alfalfa sprout outbreak and recall in Australia, seed was verified as the source of the seed.


Salmonella Oranienberg led to recalls in two states, one due to an outbreak traced back to the product and the other being a sprout supplier initiated recall following upgrade testing due to the initial outbreak.  As was initially considered by all, except the seed suppliers, the seed was proven to be the culprit – after exhaustive testing.


The levels of salmonella in the alfalfa product after 3 days growth were approx 3 cfu/g, which is 3,000 cfu/kg.


The sprout grower is in discussion with seed suppliers to improve their processes.  They have also introduced a hold and release program for Alfalfa products until such time as the seed supply chain can be improved.  They are hoping that major customers and legislators will make this a requirements throughout the country.


Various state and federal government bodies are starting to show an interest in the problem, which the grower feels is quite positive.  Many of them are actually getting out into the field and going to see what happens throughout the industry chain – from seed supply to sprouting.  They are putting together working parties, combining seed & sprout producers, major retailers, various health and primary industry department to develop a workable solution that should see the ongoing viability of the industry as well as reducing the risks to consumers.  The grower feels this is a very positive step.


Although this has been an awful period for the industry, the grower is hoping that it will lead to significant improvements in the future.