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    Stop Selling Sprouts - And Certainly Stop Eating Them
    By Hank Campbell | October 29th 2012 04:12 PM | 21 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
    About Hank

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    Kroger, America's largest supermarket chain, announced it will stop selling sprouts because of their "potential food safety risk". It joins retail behemoth Walmart, which stopped selling them way back in 2010.

    "After a thorough, science-based review, we have decided to voluntarily discontinue selling fresh sprouts," Payton Pruett, Kroger's vice president of food safety, said in a statement that USA Today got.

    I can understand why companies would stop selling them - the bad press from hospitalizations isn't going to help the bottom line - but I don't understand why anyone eats them.  Why did 21st century foodies stop reading science published more recently than a hundred years ago? Raw milk, raw sprouts, why not just write a book called Recipe For Diarrhea? And that is if you are lucky.  If you were one of 3,000 Germans who got sick from the stuff in 2011, you might also have had your kidneys shut down or been one of the dozens who died.

    Big Sprout insists it is the FDA at fault, at least in America.  And they have been saying it since 1999, when FDA Commissioner Jane Henney M.D. called sprouts a high risk food and said that the following groups should not eat them; the young, the old,  and people who do not want to die. Whole Foods is a problem too, sprout-ers claim, since they will now only carry safer bleached sprouts which are not really organic, according to hardcore advocates.

     Big Sprout says the risks are exaggerated, and a lot fewer people are getting sick these days.  Well, they are right, because a lot fewer people are dumb enough to eat the things these days.
    Even Canadians are against sprouts, and they endorse all kinds of alternative medicine woo. But in 2005 they had 648 cases of Salmonella from sprouts just in Ontario. That was a wake-up call for health sanity.

    If you choose to even buy sprouts, look at these instructions from Health Canada "Use tongs, a glove or place a bag over your hand to transfer the sprouts into a plastic bag." Radioactive waste gets handled with less concern than raw sprouts and that's before getting to the part about eating. Even Huffington Post thinks they are a bad idea and it is impossible to get them to accept science, what with their anti-vaccine, toxic cleansing and pro-quantum healing positions front and center most of the time. But even they see the harm in sprouts.

    Contrary to what foodies insist, eating raw sprouts is a modern phenomenon, our ancestors did not do it; yes, ancient people who cured headaches by drilling holes in skulls were not so dumb as to let seeds fester in warm, sludgy bacteria water for half a week and then eat them without cooking them. 

    I'm an old school Californian, not the ban-happy modern kind, so I generally believe people can act stupidly within reason so I don't want to ban Big Gulps and Republicans, like everyone else does - and I don't want to ban sprouts either.  But use some common sense. The CDC hasn't reported a big outbreak of sprout-related E. Coli in a few months but that isn't because they are suddenly safe, it's because people are hopefully getting smarter.

    What about growing your own?  The FDA has guidelines if you want to throw caution to the wind and try, but the guidelines are to use calcium hypochlorite as a bleaching agent.  If bleach doesn't feel organic enough for you, take heart that it is better than vomiting.

    Comments

    sdsavage
    well said
    Steve Savage
    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat
    Why would anyone buy sprouts when they are so easy to grow at home? Just throw a few edible beans or seeds or even a mixture of them into a jam jar with a perforated lid, fill with water and leave them standing for a while, then empty out the water, rinse again and then leave the jar by your sink. 

    Every time you remember over the next couple of days or at least once or twice a day while standing at the sink, fill the jar with water a couple of times and rinse it out. Hey presto a few days later your jam jar is full of really tasty, edible very clean delicious sprouts. Now stick the jam jar in the fridge and the sprouts will keep for at least a week, give them a rinse occasionally if you remember. A jam jar that is only 1/6 full of seeds and beans will often yield a completely full jar of very clean, hygienic, tasty and nutritious sprouts that are a really cheap food and great for salads and sandwiches.
    My article about researchers identifying a potential blue green algae cause & L-Serine treatment for Lou Gehrig's ALS, MND, Parkinsons & Alzheimers is at http://www.science20.com/forums/medicine
    Helen, I read that even sprout seeds can carry the bacteria. Here is a quote from FoodSafety.gov: "Are homegrown sprouts safer? Not necessarily. If just a few harmful bacteria are present in or on the seed, the bacteria can grow to high levels during sprouting, even under sanitary conditions at home."

    Hank
    Yes, the last paragraph of the article has guidelines from the FDA.  They don't even recommend growing them if you are just going to eat them raw.  But you should bleach them.  Anyway, some people are going to eat these because they 'have never gotten sick' - until they get sick. People are also going to smoke cigarettes and get drunk and drive. The diversity of human irrationality is what makes us interesting.
    "The diversity of human irrationality is what makes us interesting."

    It's what keeps us employed.

    Personally I have eaten sprouts for over 25 years a mix of fenugreek, chick peas, mung ,aduki, sunflower, brown green lentil,, and feel brilliant from the living qualities they have ,, never had ecoli or any problem,, they are living and i feel the enzymes are beneficial ,, to me its a fear campaign and doubt spreading ,, try them yourself and see,, the world is full of bacteria, we are bacteria in some cosmic sense,,, Im unity helps me stay present and able to meet all ,,

    rholley
    When I saw the title, I thought it was referring to Brussels Sprouts.  In Britain at least, these are some people’s pet hate.

    Robert H. Olley / Quondam Physics Department / University of Reading / England
    Hank
    Nope, but I wouldn't touch those any more than I would touch any other brassica.  Do people eat brussels sprouts raw?  Nothing surprises me any more.
    rholley
    If ever I do make it across to the land of Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, I suggest we meet at a Russian-style establishment where you can try Shchi (щи in Russian with two letters, Schtschi in German with eight).

    Russian sayings "Pодной отец надоест, а щи – никогда!" (Rodnoi otets nadoyest, a shchi--nikogda! "One may tire of one's own father, but never of shchi!").

    "Щи да каша – пища наша." (Shchi da kasha - pishcha nasha "Shchi and kasha are our staples").
    Robert H. Olley / Quondam Physics Department / University of Reading / England
    Hank
    You can find anything in LA so let's try there. They also have a Scottish-Jewish cuisine restaurant I have been wanting to try since I wrote about caber tossing.
    Grow them at home, then cook the heck out of them, no problem.

    I am trying to read this article without getting angry. You must be the type to believe what they hear and read from the government and the FDA with absolutely no mind of your own to think logically...the world is full of them. Now I am not a "conspiracy theorist" but I do not believe that big corporations and federal agencies (read FDA) as a whole have our best interests in mind. They have their pockets in mind and it all comes down to the almighty dollar.

    Why do you think that scientist haven't found a cure for cancer yet? Because "healing" someone doesn't make them as much money as dozens of rounds of chemo, radiation and subsequent prescriptions to help combat all of the awful side effects. Let me let you in on a "secret"...frankincense cures cancer!! It has been proven time and time again!! Why hasn't the FDA jumped on the frankincense band wagon? Because it is illegal to patent nature! (read "low profit margin") So they are trying to scientifically manufacture it in a lab so they can stick their patent on it and make billions of dollars...and they have enough arrogance to believe that they can recreate what nature has given us.

    No, I am not anti-science. Hell I hold a bachelors degree in biology and it fascinates me! I just don't believe that we can do better than nature. Raw milk?? Absolutely!! Did you know that as much as 90% of people that are allergic to milk can drink raw milk with no issues?! They are allergic to pasteurized milk!

    While I agree that the risk of buying already sprouted seeds and beans in a store is high because you have no way of knowing the conditions in which they are sprouted, and yes, there is a significant risk of bacteria if you don't do it right...I am most definitely FOR sprouting at home. Sprouts are one of the few foods where you can still get live enzymes in our very much dead food society. Even a non GMO food product that is free of chemical herbicides, pesticides and fertilizers eaten raw is going to be lacking enzymes because we have so depleted our soil now that it can no longer give us what it did even 50 years ago. And all of our over-processed foods are all dead....then we have idiots like this that jump on the band wagon and talking about how awful it is to buy raw foods! You must be a walking disease waiting to happen!!

    Nature knows how to take care of herself...she has been around eons before humans and will continue when we have killed ourselves off...so let's stop thinking we are so much smarter than she is and instead, team up with her for greater health and wellness for us and our animals!!! **Climbs off soapbox and goes to get ready for trick-or-treaters**

    Hank
    So if your child gets cancer, you believe frankincense will cure it and you are sticking to that?  

    Well, lots of psychics and astrologers and 'quantum healing' doctors on TV have college degrees too.  Here is hoping you come to your senses if it's ever important.

    As I said, by all means grow the things at home and eat them raw despite warnings.  Like vegans who end up starving babies, though, you will get a hearing with child services if your kids land in the hospital. If it just you being a crackpot and harming no one else, I am cool with that.  Yayyyy diversity. Until all of us have to pay for your healthcare, that is.
    Oh that's a shame... I loved sprouts when I was a kid. I would always tell my mom to put "grass" (referring to sprouts) on my sandwiches and salads.

    Hank
    Were you eating them raw? There were no outbreaks until the mid-1990s because the somewhat quirky raw fetish was not in existence before then. People in the country already know what you have to cook and it was only city people who adopted it as a fad that started eating raw sprouts and now we get outbreaks twice a year.  Unless you remember soaking the things for a few days, you were not eating raw sprouts - or they were bleached.

    You also may be tolerant. I can eat chicken off the street in Taiwan, for example, whereas most people are advised to get a hepatitis vaccine (ha ha) but I was raised on a farm. 
    Oh we ate them raw and it was in the mid 80's when I was really young and 90's. It's Alfalfa sprouts we are talking about, right?

    Hank
    Alfalfa, bean, clover, whatever.  Since that was before the raw food craziness they were likely bleached to get rid of bacteria first, before they were ever even sold to be planted.  It's the modern raw-ism industry that leads to 'sproutbreaks', not what people were doing 20 years ago.

    It's now safer for big stores just not to sell the things; the headache is too much. Unfortunately, the raw food crazies have damaged the reputation of something that was healthy enough for most people, when the Big Ag that raw food people seem to hate made sure they were clean.
    This a bit silly in reality.

    Against eating raw sprouts even if you sprout correctly on your own and do not (which I never will) but them from the store yet it's ok to eat a raw salad? What is the difference? None I say. So if you are freaking about eating raw sprouts you better not eat raw anything. It's quite silly.

    Just in case you don't know when you sprout yourself they don't sit in sludge for half a week. You first rinse until the water is clear. You than soak for 12 hours, rinse and drain well. After this you rinse and drain well every 8-12 hours. I only do it every 12 hours so whatever I am sprouting is actually dry by the time I rinse it again. I also have it in a thin layer so it dries faster. On top of that I use ascorbic acid in each rinse. So as you can see when you sprout (at least the way I do it) nothing is sitting in sludgy water and is being dried between each rinse.

    Hank
    I think you have the safest way to prepare them.  That does not mean they are safe. Sprouts are bacteria factories waiting to happen, there is a reason people have always cooked them before eating or bleached them before planting if they want to eat them raw.

    Unless you bought your sprouts from some crazy raw food place, they were bleached.

    I have grown up surrounded by health minded individuals, who have sprouted and have never gotten sick from sprouting. there is as much nutrition in on broccoli sprout as in the whole plant. It is facts like why "they" do not want us to eat them, because you would be as healthy as a horse and quite probably never need to go to the doctor. On a side note, did you know that the UFC fighters and our own special forces eat about 85% raw, and that a large portion of that rawness are sprouts. They are probably THE most healthy thing on the planet to eat...now can you see why "they" do not want them consumed? The FDA, protecting John Q public? Lol That's a good one Hank:)

    Hank
    UFC fighters and special ops guys are exceptional in too many ways to count.  If you told me they eat grenades I would probably buy it.  I was in both competitive martial arts and the military and never heard of it as a diet staple but things may have changed since then.

    But, really, we are not talking about elite fighters and some people are going to eat raw sprouts and get lucky or just not get sick.  This does not make it a smart diet.  The US Army warns soldiers and their families not to eat raw sprouts.  Special ops are outside the chain of command and what Dana White recommends in the UFC is his own affair, but for people on a diet fad it is exceedingly dangerous.