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Circumstantial evidence implicates alfalfa sprouts

The Food and Drug Administration has issued a consumer warning that alfalfa sprouts grown on the Urbana, Illinois organic farm Tiny Greens are linked to salmonella. However, Monica Eng of the Chicago Tribune reports that not one of the Tiny Greens sprouts the FDA and Illinois Department of Public Health tested showed salmonella contamination. FDA says that they have issued this warning because of strong epidemiological evidence. Tiny Greens supplies sprouts to Jimmy John’s sandwich shop, headquartered in Urbana’s sister city of Champaign. And 50 of a recent spate of 89 salmonella/sprout cases took place in Illinois where Jimmy John’s patrons ate a sandwich with sprouts.

Bill Bagby Jr, the owner of Tiny Greens, is upset and says the FDA has rushed to find a culprit in order to create an illusion of due diligence and public safety. If Bagby’s sprouts are not what has lead to a salmonella outbreak, then he is certainly right to be upset about the feds sullying his business’s good name. However, the FDA investigation is ongoing. Also, the agency doesn’t have the power use this association between Tiny Green’s and Jimmy Johns to actually issue a sprout recall. Congress passed a new law to enhance FDA recall power but it has yet to be either signed into law by the president or receive Congressional funding.

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