Salmonella infections linked to shelled peas sold at three Wisconsin farmers markets

Seven people in four counties have become ill

Wisconsin State Farmer

MADISON - The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS), the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) and four Local Health Departments are investigating at least seven cases of salmonellosis affecting people in four Wisconsin counties.

All seven of the patients consumed fresh shelled peas purchased at farmers markets. Shelled peas are loose, no longer in their pod.

The investigation shows that at least seven people infected with the same strain of Salmonella reported eating fresh shelled (loose) peas purchased from farmers markets in Green Bay, Madison, and Fond du Lac on Saturday July 22, 2017.  

The investigation into the source of the suspected peas is ongoing. Anyone who purchased already shelled (loose) peas during July 19 – Aug. 5, 2017 from one of the following three farmers markets is advised to dispose of any remaining peas, even if the peas have been frozen.

Fresh shelled peas at farmers markets in Green Bay, Madison and Fond du Lac have been blamed for seven cases of salmonellosis.

Dane County Farmers Market in Madison located on the capitol square (Saturdays) or Martin Luther King Blvd (Wednesdays).

Downtown Green Bay Farmers Market (Saturdays) located in downtown Green Bay.

Fond du Lac Farmers Market (Saturdays) located in downtown Fond du Lac.

This recommendation does not include peas that were purchased still in their pod or shell, or peas purchased at other farmers market locations. Suspected peas are no longer being sold.

Fresh peas are a raw agricultural product. When enjoying any fresh vegetable or fruit, it is important to take steps to protect you and your family.  Whether you grow your own or purchase fresh fruits and vegetables from a grocer or farmers market, the following tips are recommended for safe food handling of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Safe handling tips

  • Thoroughly wash fresh fruits and vegetables before eating.
  • Store perishable fresh fruits and vegetables in a clean refrigerator at a temperature of 40°F or below.
  • Refrigerate all produce that is purchased pre-cut or peeled.
  • Never prepare food for others if you have diarrhea or vomiting.
  • Report suspected food poisoning to your local health department.

Salmonellosis is caused by Salmonella bacteria that are spread by eating or drinking contaminated food or water, or by direct or indirect contact with fecal matter from infected people or animals. Symptoms include diarrhea, abdominal pains, fever, and vomiting that lasts for several days.

Bloodstream infections can occur, but are rare, and can be quite serious in the very young and older people. Most people recover from salmonellosis on their own, but may require extra fluids to prevent dehydration.

If you have consumed fresh shelled (loose) peas purchased from the named farmer’s markets during July 19 – Aug. 5, and are experiencing the symptoms of salmonellosis, contact your healthcare provider.