A Salmonella outbreak linked to BrightFarms prepackaged salad has ended with 31 illnesses in four states, according to the Centers for Disease and Prevention (CDC). Four people were hospitalized. That’s a significant increase since the agency’s last update on July 22, 2021, when 11 people in three states were sick.


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The four states reporting illnesses are Illinois with 18 cases, Wisconsin with 10, Pennsylvania with two, and Michigan with one. The patients, who range in age from less than 1 year to 86 years, reported the onset of symptoms on dates ranging from June 10, 2021, to August 18, 2021. Sixty percent of the patients were female. The median age was 44.

BrightFarms Salad Salmonella CDC outbreak map final

 

Health officials interviewed 27 patients. Of those, 26 reported eating leafy greens before they became ill. Twenty-two of them said they had eaten prepackaged salad. Shopper card records and patient information interview data revealed that 15 people ate or bought BrightFarms packaged salad greens before they got sick. The varieties they purchased included Sunny Crunch, 50/50 Spring & Spinach, Harvest Crunch, and Butter Crisp.

BrightFarms Salad Salmonella Recall

BrightFrams of New York, NY grows leafy greens hydroponically in greenhouses. Their growing method uses “80% less water, 90% less land, and 95% less shipping fuel than long-distance field-grown produce,”  according to the company website. The company uses non-GMO seeds and does not use pesticides, herbicides, or fungicides, or chlorine baths on its greens. It operates greenhouses in Illinois, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia

Using shopper card data, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was able to determine that the  BrightFarms salads some of the sick people ate were produced at the greenhouse located in Rochelle, Illinois.

On July 15, 2021, BrightFarms issued a recall for eight prepackaged salad products:

  • BrightFarms NutrigreensTM (3 oz. package)
  • BrightFarms Butter Crisp TM (4 oz. Package)
  • BrightFarms Harvest Crunch ® (4 oz. package)
  • BrightFarms Mighty Romaine TM (4 oz. and 8 oz. package)
  • BrightFarms 50/50 Spring & Spinach (4 oz. package)
  • BrightFarms Spring Crunch (4 oz. package)
  • BrightFarms Spring Mix (4 oz. and 8 oz. package)
  • BrightFarms Sunny Crunch ® (4 oz. and 8 oz. package)

On July 28, 2021, BrightFarms expanded its salad greens Salmonella recall to include baby spinach. The recall expansion included 4-ounce containers with the UPC 5706200439 and 8-ounce containers have the UPC 5706200449.

BrightFarms Sunny Crunch Salad - Salmonella

Salmonella Outbreak Investigation

Health officials used genetic testing to identify the genetic fingerprint of the Salmonella Typhimurium strain associated with this outbreak. This means that the Salmonella cultured from each of the confirmed patients had matching fingerprints.

The FDA collected samples from the BrightFarms greenhouse in Rochelle, Illinois. They found  Salmonella Liverpool in an indoor pond at the facility and the outbreak strain of Salmonella Typhimurium in an outdoor stormwater drainage pond near the greenhouse. FDA investigators were not able to determine how the drainage pond became contaminated with the outbreak strain.

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