Today Sprouters Northwest recalled clover a spicy sprouts (spicy sprouts are a blend) due to their implication in a Salmonella outbreak that has sickened at least 2 Oregon and 4 Washington residents.  The Oregon Department of Public Health announced the outbreak this afternoon.  The outbreak involves Salmonella serotype Newport, which makes it a different outbreak than the one announced by Illinois Department of Public Health in December, and has sickened 97 people in 16 states and the District of Columbia (more than 57 in Illinois alone).

Notably, the outbreak again involves Jimmy John’s restaurants, making this the fourth sprouts outbreak to ensnare the sandwich chain in the last several years.  Lynne Terry reported today that the first woman to become ill in the current salmonella sprouts outbreak was a Bend, Oregon resident who ate a sandwich containing sprouts at a Jimmy Johns restaurant in the several days before onset of her illness. 

In the past two years, the sandwich chain has been linked to four sprout outbreaks, including one at the end of 2010. Nearly 100 people were sickened by alfalfa sprouts sold by Jimmy John’s in the Midwest.

But the Jimmy John’s store in Bend only uses clover sprouts from Sprouters Northwest, and that company was not implicated in the Midwest outbreak.

Initially, the woman appeared to be a solitary case. Then on Dec. 17, a 3-year-old boy in Bend got sick after munching on a sandwich from Jimmy John’s.

That prompted Keene and his colleagues to whirl into action. They contacted the FDA and Washington state authorities, which in turn found four more cases linked to Sprouters Northwest clover sprouts.

Then on Monday, Keene learned that a woman in Multnomah County had been sickened, hours after the recall was announced.

The company pulled the sprouts as soon as it learned it was part of an investigation.

"They’ve been through this before," Keene said.

The recall covers Clover, Clover & Onion, Spicy Sprouts and Deli sprouts packaged with the Sprouters Northwest label.

They were sold in 4-oz. and 5-oz. plastic containers in grocery stores and in 1-lb. bags and 2-lb. trays to stores and wholesalers. The company can be reached at 253-872-0577.

Sprouters Northwest has suspended production of the clover sprouts while the FDA investigates.