About E. coli Blog
Evergreen Sprout E. coli Outbreak Litigation – Multi-state (2014)
Marler Clark represents several victims and to date has filed four lawsuits.
Public health officials in California, Idaho, Michigan, Montana, Utah and Washington collaborated with their federal partners at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to investigate an outbreak of E. coli O121 that occurred in May 2014. A total of 19 persons with the outbreak strain, identified by PulseNet PFGE Pattern Identification Numbers EXKX01.0011/EXKA26.0001, were reported. Among persons for whom information was available, dates of illness onset ranged from May 1, 2014 to May 20, 2014. Ill persons ranged from 11 years to 52 years. Seven of 16 persons for whom information was available were hospitalized. No ill person developed hemolytic uremic syndrome and no deaths were reported.
Epidemiologic and traceback investigations conducted by public health officials implicated raw clover sprouts produced by Evergreen Fresh Sprouts, LLC of Hayden, Idaho as the likely source of this outbreak. Thirteen (81%) of 16 ill persons reported eating raw clover sprouts in the week before becoming ill. Ill persons in Washington and Idaho reported eating sprouts in sandwiches at several local food establishments including several Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches locations, the Pita Pit, and Daanen’s Deli.
As part of the investigation the FDA performed a traceback analysis and determined that Evergreen Fresh Sprouts supplied sprouts to seven restaurants with outbreak associated cases. This analysis used documents collected directly from the distributors and the grower, Evergreen Fresh Sprouts, as well as documents collected by the states from the points of service.
The FDA conducted several inspections at the Evergreen Fresh Sprouts facility in May and June. During the inspections FDA investigators observed a number of unsanitary conditions, including condensate and irrigation water dripping from rusty valves, a rusty and corroded watering system in the mung bean room, tennis rackets (used to scoop mung bean sprouts) that had scratches, chips and frayed plastic; a pitchfork (used to transfer mung bean sprouts) that had corroded metal, and a squeegee (used to agitate mung bean sprouts inside a soak vat) that had visible corroded metal and non-treated wood.
On June 26, 2014 the FDA and CDC held a meeting with the owner of Evergreen Fresh Sprouts to advise the firm of FDA’s concerns that the seed lot used to row clover sprouts linked to this outbreak might be contaminated and to encourage Evergreen Fresh Sprouts to discontinue using that seed lot. The owner of Evergreen Fresh Sprouts agreed to stop using the suspected lot of seeds. On August 1, 2014 the CDC declared the outbreak over and published a final outbreak summary on-line at http://www.cdc.gov/ecoli/2014/O121-05-14/index.html.