Clover Sprouts Causing Illness in Northwest

By Paige Browning

Health officials have advised people not to eat clover sprouts until further notice because of a possible link to E. coli. 10 people have become ill from E. coli in Washington and Idaho since May 1st, and half of them were hospitalized.
 
Health officials say the cases appear to be linked to eating raw clover sprouts, produced by Evergreen Fresh Sprouts of Idaho. The company sells to area grocery stores, and restaurants like Jimmy John’s sandwiches and Pita Pit. Cases have popped up in Kootenai County, Idaho, Spokane County, and King County.
 
Epidemiologist Dorothy MacEachern calls sprouts a potentially hazardous food.
 
MacEachern: “Our advisory always is the young, the old, pregnant, and immune compromised should stay away from sprouts all together, but in this case we’re saying if you have clover sprouts, you should probably throw them away and put them in the garbage where nobody else can get them, including animals.”
 
People ill from E. coli normally have severe abdominal cramps and diarrhea. MacEachern says sprouts can carry bacteria easily because they are produced in wet, warm environments.
 
Washington and Idaho’s departments of health advise people not to eat clover sprouts from Evergreen Fresh Sprouts, until further notice. Similar looking alfalfa sprouts are not in the advisory.
 
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