Virginia Tracks Sprouts As the Cause of an Ecoli Outbreak

Virginia Tracks Cause of E.coli Outbreak
Virginia Department of Health

August 4, 1997


(Richmond, Va.)–The Virginia Department of Health has identified a specific lot of alfalfa sprout seeds as the cause of an E. Coli 0157:H7 outbreak. Any alfalfa sprouts with the label “Krisp-Pak Company, Inc.” should be disposed of or returned to the store where they were purchased. Krisp-Pak of Norfolk appears to be the only company in Virginia which received the implicated seeds.


The contaminated alfalfa sprouts are likely responsible for 24 of 45 E. coli 0157:H7cases reported in Virginia. Virginia saw an increase in the number of E. coli cases and after a thorough investigation the source of infection was determined. The E. coli0157:H7 infections not linked to alfalfa sprouts are still being investigated, but the exact source may never be identified.


As soon as Krisp-Pak learned it might be selling sprouts associated with the outbreak, it notified its distributors and removed the alfalfa sprouts from the market. The Norfolk-based company initiated the recall of the alfalfa sprouts. On Wednesday, August 6, Krisp-Pak will begin using seeds from a different source.


Virginia and Michigan were the only two states to receive this particular lot of alfalfa sprout seeds. These two outbreaks mark the first time E. coli has been associated with alfalfa sprouts. There currently is no reliable way to identify the E. coli bacteria in either seeds or sprouts. Therefore, there was no way for companies to recognize and prevent this type of problem from occurring. Scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration are using some of Krisp-Pak’s seeds to learn more about the association between E. coli bacteria and sprouts.


For more information, call Dr. Suzanne Jenkins, 804.786.6262; Her pager number is: 804.527.8784. If you have questions about E. coli 0157:H7, contact your local health department.




Enforcement Report

The FDA Enforcement Report is published weekly by the Food and Drug Administration, U.S. Public Health Service, Department of Health and Human Services. It contains information on actions taken in connection with agency regulatory activities.


April 1, 1998                                        98-13




PRODUCT                         Sprouts, in 4 ounce plastic containers packed by Krisp-Pak Co., Inc., and in unlabeled 5 pound flats.  Recall #F-191-8.

CODE                               All lots distributed prior to August 1, 1997.

MANUFACTURER                Krisp-Pak Company, Inc., Norfolk, Virginia.

RECALLED BY                    Manufacturer, by letter on August 1, 1997, and by telephone on August 4 and 8, 1997.  Virginia Department of     Agriculture issued press releases on August 1, 4, and 5, 1997. Firm-initiated recall complete.

DISTRIBUTION                   North Carolina, Maryland, Virginia, District of Columbia.

QUANTITY                         Undetermined.

REASON                            Product may be contaminated with E.coli 0157:H7.