Alfalfa Sprouts Risky for Kids, Elderly - FDA
September 02, 1998
Washington (Reuters) - Children, pregnant women and the elderly should not eat alfalfa sprouts until growers find a way to reduce the risk of a deadly bacteria that infects some sprouts, the Food and Drug Administration said. The warning came after California health officials urged vulnerable consumers to stop eating sprouts because of three food poisoning outbreaks in the state. Some 60 consumers in California fell ill after eating tainted sprouts during the past summer, according to federal and state officials. An outbreak of E. coli 0157:H7, a microscopic and especially virulent form of the bacteria, was linked to alfalfa sprouts last year in Michigan and Virginia. Some 36 people were hospitalized for treatment.
University of Wisconsin Department of Bacteriology, Bacteriology 330 Lecture Topics: Pathogenic E. coli has an overview, and the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) gives more detail on this particularly virulent strain of E. coli. Being that E. coli is an animal bacterium and extremely small, chances are the bacteria are in the dirt and/or irrigating system and can enter through the root system or enter via a tear or cut on the vegetable. Once inside the vegetable it will be impossible to remove it short of cutting out the damaged part. So, using manure that is not properly sterilized to fertilize can be hazardous.
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