The CDC’s January 14, 2011 update on the Tiny Greens Salmonella outbreak put the toll (not sure whether it’s final) at 125 ill in 22 states and Washington DC. The CDC states that not all of the cases are definitely related to Tiny Greens contaminated sprouts–i.e. some of the illnesses may just be part of the background incidence of Salmonella I 4,5,12, i-. Most of the outbreak cases were in Illinois, Missouri, and Indiana, where many people became ill after eating the contaminated sprouts on Jimmy John’s sandwiches.
During its investigation at Tiny Greens, the FDA made the following findings (see full 483 report):
- growing sprouts in "soil from the organic material decomposed outside" without using any monitored "kill step" on the material (kind of eliminates the ruckus raised by Tiny Greens’ owner Bill Bagby over the finding, saying that the presence of Salmonella in outside compost had nothing to do with the outbreak–nevermind that it was the same strain of Salmonella)
- An "amphibian/reptile" was kept in the reception room of the firm, which adjoined the production area.
- The firm couldn’t show that its antimicrobial treatment for seeds, which was not specifically described in the report, was equivalent to the recommended treatment with a bleach solution.
- Employees stored their lunches, including such items as raw bacon, in the same cooler where finished sprouts were stored.
- Organic matter was seen on a table where sprouts were packaged, and a "biofilm-like buildup" was seen on sprouting trays after they were cleaned.
- What looked like mold was seen on walls and ceiling in a mung-bean sprouting room.
- Condensation dripped from the ceiling in production areas throughout the inspection period, which lasted close to a month.
- An outside lab that the firm used to test its water and sprouts used a method that was not validated for detecting Salmonella in those items.
Tiny Greens was sued by an outbreak victim in Illinois. The outbreak was followed closely by another salmonella sprouts outbreak in Oregon and Washington, that sickened at least 7 people, spawning multiple lawsuits as well.