Sprouted Seeds and risk of E.Coli

Sprouted seeds are grown from seed and harvested before formation of the first leaves. They are also known as 'bean sprouts' or 'sprouts'. Production can be done with or without a growth medium like compost or soil and generally takes between 4 and 10 days to complete depending on the variety of seed being sprouted. Sprouts are generally ready-to-eat products although some types like mung bean sprouts are more normally cooked.

Because of their ready-to-eat status, sprouts represent a high risk category of food for which control measures are necessary to reduce the risk to human health. The production of sprouts requires high humidity and warm conditions that are also perfect for the growth of bacteria. Pathogenic bacteria (hereafter called pathogens) like E. coli O157 (and related verotoxigenic E. coli) and Salmonella spp. have been associated with outbreaks of human disease when contaminated sprouts have been consumed. The most recent outbreak, centred in Germany in 2011, was caused by E. coli O104:H4 and resulted in more than 47 deaths and several thousand infections. The most likely link between food and the infections were sprouts grown from fenugreek seeds exported to Germany from Egypt1.......pdf icon Read More [204kb]