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    Tips for avoiding foodborne illness from Sprouts
    avatar
    Elaine Magee, MPH, RD posted:


    In 1999, then-FDA Commissioner issued the following advice: "Despite all these efforts to make raw sprouts safer, we continue to receive reports of illnesses associated with raw sprouts. Consumers need to understand that, at this time, the best way to control this risk is not to eat raw sprouts."

    Why sprouts? Conditions for sprout growing are ideal for rapid bacterial growth and to make it doubly risky, sprouts are often eaten raw. Even homegrown sprouts present a risk because if pathogenic bacteria are present in or on seed, they can grow to high levels during sprouting.


    In the past 20 years, according to the Centers for Disease
    Control and Prevention (CDC), Salmonella was indentified in 36
    out of 45 outbreaks with sprouts, with E. coli associated with eight outbreaks, and Listeria with one outbreak.


    BOTTOM LINE:

    You can still eat sprouts though--keep the following USDA tips in mind:

     Children, the elderly, pregnant women, and persons with weakened immune systems should avoid eating raw sprouts of any kind (including alfalfa, clover, radish, and mung bean sprouts).


     Cook sprouts thoroughly to reduce the risk of illness. Cooking kills the harmful bacteria.


     When eating out or ordering food from a restaurant, request that raw sprouts not be added to your food.
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