Sprout products recalled over possible health hazard

A Central Alberta business is voluntarily recalling some of its onion sprout products because they may be contaminated with salmonella bacteria.

A Central Alberta business is voluntarily recalling some of its onion sprout products because they may be contaminated with salmonella bacteria.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency issued a health hazard alert late Wednesday night, warning consumers not to eat certain Sprouts Alive brand products made by Living Foods Ltd. of Innisfail.

The products affected are 70-gram baby onion sprouts and 130 gram alfalfa and onion sprouts, with best-before dates up to and including Aug. 28.

The inspection agency is monitoring the effectiveness of the recall.

The products have been distributed through Alberta, and possibly through British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

Among grocers who had these sprouts are Rocky Mountain House Co-op.

Produce manager Lois Rasmussen said the items were immediately removed from a cooler counter case Thursday morning.

“We didn’t have a lot,” she said.

The CFIA began testing various products after the Public Health Agency of Canada began monitoring an outbreak of salmonella cubana in a number of provinces, said Garfield Balsom, food safety and recall specialist with the CFIA.

The health agency reports 12 cases of people being sick — seven in Ontario and five in Alberta — between April 15 and July 26.

Those cases also include another manufacturer of sprouts, Sunsprout Natural Foods of Ontario.

That recall started on Aug. 9 and affected products distributed through Eastern Canada.

Salmonella cubana is a certain strain of the bacteria. Symptoms generally occur within six to 72 hours after ingestion of the bacteria through food, water or other environmental sources, and can last two to five days. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal cramps.

Attempts by the Advocate to reach Living Foods were unsuccessful on Thursday.

There was only a voice recording at the office of Sinnamon Brothers, Living Foods and Classic Grains.

Balsom said the investigation is continuing to find out how the bacteria got into the seeds.

“There were a lot of seeds in the making of these sprouts,” Balsom said.

Both Sunsprout Natural Foods and Living Foods used the same seeds in their production, Balsom said.

“That’s the common denominator,” he said. “Our investigation will continue to make sure no other products are affected.”

He said the investigation will include checking proper sanitation methods at the plant, and making sure incoming materials aren’t contaminated.

For information, consumers and industry can call the inspection agency at 1-800-442-2342 weekdays or go online at www.inspection.gc.ca

ltester@bprda.wpengine.com

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