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7 in Minnesota fall ill with E. coli after eating alfalfa sprouts

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Health officials have confirmed an outbreak of E. coli in several Minnesotans who are believed to have consumed alfalfa sprouts.

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) is advising people not to eat alfalfa sprouts produced by Jack & The Green Sprouts while it investigates the outbreak, which has sickened seven people, according to an email news release.

Those struck down with the E. coli O157 virus fell ill in January and early February. They are aged between 18 and 84, with four of them living in the Twin Cities and the other three in greater Minnesota.

All of the patients have recovered, though two did require hospital treatment.

Two other cases were found in Wisconsin and have been linked back to Jack & The Greens Sprouts, which is based in River Falls, Wisconsin, and distributes food products across the Midwest.

The Minnesotans exposed to the virus consumed the sprouts after buying them from grocery/cooperative stores, or consuming them at restaurants, salad bars, or via a commercial food service.

There is no evidence that other Jack & The Green Sprouts products are contaminated, but health officials, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are warning people and restaurants from eating or serving their alfalfa sprouts.

"Jack & The Green Sprouts alfalfa sprouts may be packaged in a plastic clamshell with a brightly colored round label on top that notes the sprout variety," the news release said. "The alfalfa sprouts may be mixed in the same package with other sprout varieties."

Also this week, Iowa-based supermarket chain Hy-Vee, which has opened several stores recently in the metro area, has recalled its own brand 2-ounce bags of macadamia nuts due to a potential salmonella contamination, WhoTV reports.

Those thought to be affected are nuts in its blue plastic bags sold between July 2, 2015, and Feb. 3, 2016.

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