K-State Research and Extension News
May 01, 2009
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K-State Food Scientist Discusses Alfalfa Sprout Recall

MANHATTAN, Kan. – On April 26, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended that consumers not eat raw alfalfa sprouts, including sprout blends containing alfalfa sprouts, until further notice because the product has been linked to Salmonella serotype Saintpaul contamination. Other types of sprouts have not been implicated at this time.

“If you have any kind of alfalfa sprouts or any blends that include alfalfa sprouts, do not eat them,” said Kansas State University Research and Extension food scientist Karen Blakeslee. “This recall only affects alfalfa sprouts at this time. According to the FDA, the outbreak appears to be an extension of an earlier 2009 outbreak in Nebraska, South Dakota, Iowa, Kansas, and Minnesota.”


Blakeslee recommended that consumers follow FDA advice concerning sprouts, which includes:


- Cook all sprouts thoroughly before eating to significantly reduce the risk of illness.


- Sandwiches and salads purchased at restaurants and delicatessens often contain raw sprouts. Consumers who wish to reduce their risk of foodborne illness should specifically request that raw sprouts not be added to their food.


- Homegrown sprouts also present a health risk if eaten raw or lightly cooked. Many outbreaks have been attributed to contaminated seed. If pathogenic bacteria are present in or on seed, they can grow to high levels during sprouting even under clean conditions.


More information is available on the FDA website:  http://www.fda.gov/bbs/topics/NEWS/2009/NEW02001.html.



K-State Research and Extension is a short name for the Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service, a program designed to generate and distribute useful knowledge for the well-being of Kansans. Supported by county, state, federal and private funds, the program has county Extension offices, experiment fields, area Extension offices and regional research centers statewide. Its headquarters is on the K-State campus, Manhattan.

Story by: Mary Lou Peter
K-State Research & Extension News

Karen Blakeslee is at 785-532-1673.