- The Washington Times - Monday, March 17, 2003

WASHINGTON, March 17 (UPI) — Harmony Farms LLC of Auburn, Wash., has recalled 5-ounce packages of alfalfa sprouts, and alfalfa and onion sprouts, because of possible Salmonella contamination.

The recalled sprouts were packaged in clear, plastic clamshells and packed in 1, 2, 3 and 5-pound cases.

Harmony Farms' products are distributed to retail outlets, restaurants, institutions and schools in Washington, Oregon, Alaska and Idaho. Oregon officials said the sprouts also were sold in northern California.

Nine cases of Salmonella Saintpaul linked to consumption of sprouts have turned up in residents of Oregon and southwest Washington, but Harmony said its routine testing hasn't detected any contamination in its products.

"These alfalfa sprouts have been identified as the cause of an ongoing outbreak of salmonellosis," said Emilio DeBess, epidemiologist for the Oregon Department of Human Services.

"Consumers who have them in their refrigerators should discard them immediately."

DeBess said the number of cases had increased steadily over the past few days. He also noted the particular strain is "uncommon" in Oregon.

DeBess said that raw sprouts have been repeatedly identified as the cause of outbreaks of salmonellosis, E. coli O157:H7 infections and other diseases.

"This is the fifth sprout-caused outbreak that has sickened Oregonians since 1996," DeBess said. "We suspect there have probably been others that went undetected. None of the other outbreaks have been associated with Harmony Farms."

Consumers are urged to return recalled sprouts to place of purchase. For more information, call 253-833-8945.

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