N. Idaho sprout farmer: Tests show no link to E. coli outbreak




Posted on June 4, 2014 at 4:37 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jun 4 at 7:03 PM

SPOKANE, Wash.-- The owner of a North Idaho sprouts farm said the government health officials told him in early June that his sprouts were safe after linking them to an E.coli outbreak in May. He said the scare took a serious toll on his business.

Health officials in Washington and Idaho linked Evergreen Fresh Sprouts in Moyie Springs to an E.coli outbreak that sickened nine people.

WATCH: Local Jimmy John’s & Pita Pit sprouts linked to E. coli outbreak

The owner of the farm, David Scharf, said the U.S. Food & Drug Administration contacted him on Monday and reported that tests came back negative for the strain of E. coli involved in the outbreak.

“The FDA came in looking for proof and they got proof,” Scharf said. “And we are free from the disease.”

Scharf said the FDA tested seeds at his farm and sprouts that he sold to the Jimmy John’s and Pita Pit locations where victims of the outbreak had eaten at. He said he was relieved to be cleared.

 “I had a tear in my eye,” he said. “I was grateful that I was not producing a product that is making people sick.”

Sharf said he was forced to lay off a number of employees in the few weeks following the outbreak.

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

KREM 2 News reached out the FDA on multiple occasions. The organization would not confirm the negative results, citing an ongoing investigation.