In The News: Sprouts Linked to Foodborne Illnesses

| 6/28/2011 1:02:16 PM

J.PattonThe Food & Drug Administration released a press release Monday warning the public about the dangers of Evergreen Produce brand alfalfa sprouts and spicy sprouts. The release states that these sprouts are possibly linked to 20 reported cases of Salmonella infection, including one hospitalization.

While these cases primarily affect the places where this particular brand is distributed (Idaho, Montana and Washington State), it’s important for everyone to educate themselves about how to reduce their risk of illness from sprouts.

Alfalfa sprouts have been linked to a recent outbreak of foodborne illness.
Photo by olgucz/Courtesy

So, what exactly are sprouts? Sprouts fall under the vegetable food group. There are many different types of sprouts you can plant in your garden, including alfalfa sprouts, broccoli sprouts, clover sprouts and lentil sprouts. They are primarily used to create texture in sandwiches and salads, but some sprouts are also used in casseroles and soups.

Don’t let recent reports distract you from the many health benefits of sprouts. Sunflower sprouts, for example, are known as great sources of vitamin D, and onion sprouts are rich in vitamins A, C and D. There are even studies that show broccoli sprouts may significantly reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease.

So, sprouts can help your body in many ways, but they can also harm it if you aren’t careful. Here is what makes sprout eaters particularly susceptible to foodborne illness: Sprout seeds and beans need humid conditions to grow and prosper. Unfortunately, these balmy conditions are also perfect for the growth of common foodborne illness culprits, including salmonella, listeria and e. coli.