Salmonella outbreaks typically make big public health news. Consider the furor surrounding the nationwide peanut butter recall earlier this year or the tainted tomato scare of 2008. But where is the hue and cry over the more recent multiple-state outbreak tied to eating contaminated alfalfa sprouts?
According to the CDC's May 7 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, a total of 228 sprout-related salmonella cases have been reported in 13 states since Feb. 1. On April 26, the FDA and the CDC recommended that consumers not eat raw alfalfa sprouts until further notice and on May 1, the FDA notified sprout growers and retailers that the seed company identified as the source of the tainted sprouts was voluntarily withdrawing all affected seed lots from the market.
The FDA recommends thoroughly cooking your sprouts before eating, although that would seem to eliminate them as a crunchy salad topping. I'll opt for croutons over limp sprouts any day. Then again, now that tomatoes and peanut butter are back on shelves, pizza or a PB&J suddenly seem like sensible choices.