Alfalfa / Clover Sprouts: Overview

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Modified on 2009/10/14 21:40 by admin
A recent study conducted by the California Department of Health Services and the Centers for Disease Control discovered that more than half of food-borne illnesses are related to alfalfa and clover sprouts. For instance, sprouts, often touted as a health food, were the cause of over 600 instances of illness and at least two deaths in California alone. In addition, more than 20,000 cases of food-borne illnesses go unreported because doctors may not realize that sprouts were the cause.

The main sources of these illnesses were E. Coli 0157 and salmonella, common causes of many food-borne illnesses. Experts believe that sprout seeds become contaminated through fertilization, contaminated irrigation water, and exposure to livestock.

As sprouts are frequently eaten raw on sandwiches and salads, disease causing bacteria remain unharmed. To prevent further outbreaks, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends cooking sprouts to eliminate bacteria. The FDA notes that washing sprouts does not kill dangerous bacteria.

Food-borne illnesses of this sort are particularly dangerous to the elderly, the very young, those with weakened immune systems, and pregnant women.

See Also

  1. Food Products & Restaurants
  2. Digestive Disorders: Overview
  3. Poisoning
  4. Salmonellosis: Overview
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