Minnesota E. coli O157:NM Outbreak Associated with Alfalfa Sprouts, Lawyers Investigating

Our E. coli lawyers are investigating an outbreak of E. coli O157:NM infections in Minnesota associated with alfalfa sprouts produced by Jack & The Green Sprouts, a River Falls, Wisconsin company. Our offices are in Minneapolis, MN, and we are a national food safety law firm that represents people sickened in E. coli outbreaks in lawsuits against food companies, restaurants, grocery stores, and others. Contact our law firm for a free case evaluation.

According to the Minnesota Department of Health, 7 E. coli O157:NM cases in January and early February were connected by genetic testing–E. coli bacteria from those cases all had the same DNA fingerprint. Four of the cases are residents of the Twin Cities metro area, and three live in greater Minnesota. Two were hospitalized.

The ill individuals range in age from 18 to 84 years, all of whom can contact our law firm for a free consultation regarding compensation for medical expenses, pain, and suffering, lost wages and other damages. We hold companies accountable for selling poisoned food.

Raw Sprouts

Two additional cases of E. coli O157 infection, considered part of this outbreak, were identified by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (WDHS) in Wisconsin residents. Neither case was hospitalized. Our lawyers have also successfully represented food poisoning victims in Wisconsin.

The seven Minnesota cases and at least one of the Wisconsin cases were exposed to implicated alfalfa sprouts from a variety of locations, including grocery/cooperative stores, restaurants, salad bars, and commercial foodservice.  Legally, this means people sickened may have the right to sue both Jack & The Green Sprouts and the business that sold them the contaminated food.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have been called in by state health officials to help with the investigation. The FDA is working with state officials to collect samples and determine the source of the outbreak. There is a possibility that other states will have E. coli O157:NM cases because Jack & The Green Sprouts distributes alfalfa sprouts to Minnesota, Wisconsin and other states in the upper Midwest.

“This is an ongoing investigation, and the extent of the product contamination is unknown. Based on the information collected to date, health officials recommend not eating any alfalfa sprouts produced by Jack & The Green Sprouts. Currently, there is no evidence that other products produced by Jack & The Green Sprouts are contaminated” (MDH).

In a grocery store or other retail setting, Jack & The Green Sprouts alfalfa sprouts may be packaged in a plastic clamshell with a brightly colored round label on top that notes the sprout variety. The alfalfa sprouts may be mixed in the same package with other sprout varieties.

The Minnesota Department of Health is urging consumers “not to eat alfalfa sprouts produced by Jack & The Green Sprouts and retailers and restaurants not to sell or serve them.”

You may be part of this outbreak. Symptoms of E. coli O157 food poisoning typically include severe stomach cramps and extremely bad diarrhea, often with bloody stools, but only a low-grade or no fever. People typically become ill two to five days after exposure, but this period can range from one to ten days. If you have these symptoms and need medical attention, ask your doctor to get a stool sample that can be tested for E. coli bacteria and mention this outbreak. Legally, it is important that this test is done and that further testing is done if E. coli is found to determine if it is specifically O157:NM.

Diarrhea associated with E. coli O157 infections should NOT be treated with antibiotics, as this practice might promote the development of hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which can cause kidney failure and other severe problems, including death:

A study looked at 259 children with E. coli O157:H7 infections, 36 of whom developed HUS. The researchers concluded: “Antibiotic use during E. coli O157:H7 infections is associated with a higher rate of subsequent HUS and should be avoided.” Wong, Craig S., et al. “Risk factors for the hemolytic uremic syndrome in children infected with Escherichia coli O157: H7: a multivariable analysis.” Clinical Infectious Diseases 55.1 (2012): 33-41 9.

Those most at risk of developing complications from E. coli O157 include children younger than 10, the elderly, and those with weakened immune systems.

Retailers and restaurants should not sell or serve alfalfa sprouts produced by Jack & The Green Sprouts, and consumers should not eat them at this time.

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Category: Food Poisoning
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