The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced that there is a probable link between five cases of human listeriosis, including two deaths, and mung bean sprouts produced by Wholesome Soy Products Inc., of Chicago.
US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) inspectors found Listeria monocytogenes in samples of mung bean sprouts and sprout irrigation water during routine checks at Wholesome Soy Products facility in August 2014. Further inspection isolated the pathogen in 25 environmental samples and found unsanitary conditions and poor equipment maintenance.
Wholesome Soy Products issued a voluntary recall of the contaminated sprouts on 28 August and ceased production. Production resumed in September after product samples tested negative, but ceased again on 14 October after Listeria monocytogenes was again found in environmental samples.
Meanwhile, genetic fingerprinting and whole genome sequencing of the Listeria strain found at the facility revealed a probable link between mung bean sprouts from Wholesome Soy Products and five cases of illness in Illinois and Michigan. All five of the people affected were hospitalised and two died. The investigation is continuing.
The full CDC statement on the investigation can be found here.