Sprouts recalled due to possible health risk


POCATELLO - Packaged alfalfa sprouts from Harmony Farms of Auburn, Wash., have been recalled because the sprouts might be contaminated with salmonella.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare warns consumers to avoid eating these packaged alfalfa sprouts. The products were distributed to retail outlets, restaurants, institutions and schools in Idaho, Washington, Oregon and Alaska.

"There is a potential for this to become very serious," said Mary Valentine, Idaho Department of Health and Welfare's food protection manager. "This is a warning."

Calls to Pocatello grocery stores reveal that most do not carry Harmony Farms sprouts, but Valentine said there is still a chance the sprouts were distributed in southeast Idaho.

The potentially contaminated products have been removed from store shelves that carry it, but Valentine said people also need to check their own refrigerators.

"It's time to clean out your fridge and look for these sprouts," she said.

Harmony Farms did not say if there was a production time period people should look for when they voluntarily recalled the product.

So far, nine cases of salmonella in Oregon and southwest Washington have been linked to alfalfa sprouts by the Oregon Department of Human Services.

"We don't want anyone to eat a potentially contaminated food," Valentine said. "A person can get very sick."

Salmonella leads to salmonellosis, which is an acute bacterial infection that causes diarrhea, fever and vomiting. Symptoms usually develop within one to five days after eating contaminated food.

More suspected cases are being investigated, including one in Idaho.

Valentine wouldn't say where the Idaho case is because it is under investigation and may not be linked to the sprouts.

Tanna Barry covers health care, ISU and serves as the Web editor for the Journal. She can be reached at 232-4161 Ext. 241 or by e-mail at tbarry@journalnet.com.

Recalled products

Harmony Farms of Auburn, Wash., has voluntarily recalled certain packaged sprouts, including:

- Harmony Farms "Fresh Alfalfa Sprouts," Gourmet Salad Sprouts" and "Fresh Alfalfa & Oregon Onion Sprouts" in 5-ounce packages.

- Harmony Farms Alfalfa Sprouts in 1-, 2-, 3- and 5-pound packages.