Beth von Gunten wrote regarding the Salmonella/E. coli in sprouts
> Is this presenting in alfalfa sprouts because most sprouts are
> alfalfa, or is there something peculiar about alfalfa that makes it
> more suseptable?
My understanding from the content of the FDA warning and from some
corollary reading is that Salmonella and E. coli are fairly
ubiquitous bacteria, and tend to multiply in wet conditions. You may
remember the incidents, in recent years, of reports of people getting
Salmonellosis from handling pet turtles in terrariums.
These bacterial toxins can cause illness at very low levels among
people with suppressed or undeveloped immune systems (as with ill
people, children, infants, and old people).
The FDA warning on sprout consumption was intended for these people.
However, I offer these observations in response, but not in answer,
to Beth's questions. I'm willing to bet her questions are eminently
> I understand that the problem usually begins with contaminated
> *seed*. Could the problem be addressed more benignly or more
> effectivly at some critical control point in seed production or
> distribution, improving *seed* hygiene, *preventing* (rather than
> remediating) contamination, decreasing the count *before* those
> little so-and-so's get the chance to replicate (and replicate and
As is this one.
Thanks, all for your ongoing thoughts on this. Very interesting
post-harvest handling issues here.
Michele Gale-Sinex, communications manager
Center for Integrated Ag Systems
UW-Madison College of Ag and Life Sciences
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