Earth Eats: Real Food, Green Living

As Russia Lifts Veggie Ban, U.S. Now Plagued By Tainted Sprouts

The German E. coli outbreak is slowing down, but salmonella cases in the U.S. raise more concern about contaminated alfalfa sprouts.

alfalfa sprouts

Photo: Jessica Reeder (Flickr)

In early 2011, alfalfa and spicy sprouts from the Tiny Greens Organic Farm of Urbana, Illinois were contaminated with salmonella, sickening around 100 people across the Midwest.

Russia Is Open For Vegetables Again

After meeting with EU members late last week, Russia has agreed to lift its ban on vegetable imports from the European Union. This was in response to promised safety guarantees made by the EU.

Russia barred European vegetables from entering the country after the recent German E. coli outbreak that killed 48 people. The EU said the ban was an overreaction and Russia’s justification wasn’t based in science.

Some view this new step as a political move in Russia’s progress to join the World Trade Organization.

Deadly Sprouts

The E. coli outbreak in Germany was especially frightening because scientists were unable to immediately identify a specific vegetable that carried the deadly bacteria. The culprit has now been narrowed down to one of four types of sprouts grown on a German farm.

The United States is also having trouble with sprouts. According to the FDA, alfalfa and spicy sprouts grown at the Evergreen Produce in Florida may carry salmonella. The FDA warns that these sprouts should not be eaten and have already been linked to 20 illnesses in Idaho, Montana, New Jersey, North Dakota, and Washington. One person has been hospitalized.

Sprouts have a history of carrying food-borne illness. In early 2011, alfalfa and spicy sprouts from the Tiny Greens Organic Farm of Urbana, Illinois were contaminated with salmonella, sickening around 100 people across the Midwest.

The FDA reminds consumers to wash and cook sprouts before eating.

Read More:

  • Russia set to end EU vegetable import ban (Reuters)
  • FDA to Consumers: Don’t Eat Evergreen Produce Sprouts (NPR)
  • FDA Press Release: Do not eat Evergreen Produce brand alfalfa sprouts or spicy sprouts FDA)
Julie Rooney

Julie Rooney is a vegetarian, musician, and artist who primarily works in video and new media. Currently she is the director of Low Road Gallery, a non-profit contemporary art gallery located in Greencastle, Indiana.

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