So far, of the nearly 6 dozen victims in a 10-state outbreak of two rare strains of salmonella, New Hampshire health officials have identified at least four individuals in their state linked to the outbreak. The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (NHDHHS), and more specifically the Division of Public Health Services (DPHS), is warning potential victims to be wary as the consumption of bean sprouts at restaurants in the state has been identified as the source of their illnesses. According to the Director of Public Health at DPHS, Dr. José Montero, his agency “will continue to investigate to identify any other potential cases and has notified the New Hampshire Grocers Association and the New Hampshire Restaurant and Lodging Association so that the product is removed from consumption.” In fact, Dr. Montero went even further, warning consumers that sprouts have been known to carry foodborne pathogens, and that any consumer who is not sure of the origin of sprouts they possess should discard them out of an abundance of caution.
Meanwhile, state health officials in Vermont have announced that they have identified at least three illnesses linked to this bean sprout outbreak. The Vermont Department of Health officials warned consumers of the outbreak, and named Wonton Foods, Inc., a New York company that is believed to be the source of the contaminated bean sprout. The source has been confirmed by federal investigators, who have linked the bean sprouts served from a number of Asian cuisine restaurants to majority of victims. These restaurants all received sprouts from Wonton Foods.
Sixty-Three Victims in Ten States Identified – Number Likely to Grow
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the victims in New Hampshire and Vermont are just a fraction of an outbreak that was initially believed to be five individual clusters of cases. In fact, the CDC has now confirmed through sophisticated analysis of the salmonella involved in this outbreak that at least 63 individuals in 10 states ate the Wonton Foods bean sprouts implicated in this outbreak. The victims, in addition to New Hampshire and Vermont, reside in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Montana, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island.
Contaminated Bean Sprouts Not Being Served to Consumers
The CDC and U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have received a verbal confirmation from Wonton Foods that the implicated sprouts are no longer on the market, with the last batch having been shipped on November 18th. Wonton Foods, along with the CDC, is instructing any restaurants or retailers who have received these sprouts to withhold them.
The CDC has also issued a general warning to the elderly, those with compromised immune systems, pregnant women and parents of the very young, to avoid eating any raw sprouts due to their propensity to carry food borne pathogens.
Food Safety Lawyer Ron Simon, who has been involved in a number of recent food borne illness outbreaks linked to sprouts, is currently interviewing victims in this outbreak. “Growers of sprouts and the restaurants who serve them know that sprouts are potential carriers of food borne illness,” Simon stated, “and have an obligation to handle them very carefully, clean them, and warn consumers who might unwittingly be exposed to dangerous pathogens like salmonella.”
Anyone who consumed sprouts at a restaurant and later became sick from salmonella bacteria is encouraged to contact a food safety lawyer to protect their legal rights. If you have questions or are concerned about something you ate, feel free to contact a food safety lawyer at Ron Simon & Associates at 713-335-4900.