E. coli outbreak triggers investigation at N. Idaho produce company




Posted on May 22, 2014 at 8:50 PM

Updated Thursday, May 22 at 9:18 PM

MOYIE SPRINGS, Idaho -- The owner of a North Idaho produce company is trying to ensure people that his product is safe following a minor E. coli outbreak.

Eight people have gotten sick and the Washington Department of Health said they possibly ate sprouts from Evergreen Fresh Sprouts near Moyie Springs.

This is not the first time the company has been accused of selling sprouts that made people sick.
Evergreen Fresh Sprouts has been in operation for years and the owner, Dave Scharf, said his product has never been linked to any illnesses. He said he has years worth of paperwork to prove it.

The Washington Department of Health said the outbreak appears to be linked to the produce company but is still investigating the matter.

READ: Local Jimmy John's & Pita Pit sprouts linked to E. Coli outbreak

“Based on my memory, they’re going to say that my product is bad. And I think that’s a little unfair,” said Scharf.

In 2011, Evergreen was investigated following a salmonella outbreak but health officials determined the farm was not the source. Scharf said the accusation alone was devastating.

“Absolutely, we nearly went under. And we’re probably going to be close to the edge on this one as well,” said Scharf.

Investigators from the US Food and Drug administration were at the farm Thursday taking seed samples.

Scharf has also sent samples to a lab in Spokane for independent testing.

“We started testing end product as well for various, it’s ecoli, salmonella, is the two main, and once a quarter I test for listeria,” said Scharf.

The test results should be in sometime next week.