Fresh sproutsSprouts — alfalfa, bean, lentil or clover — can add a nice crunch to meals, but eating them raw or even lightly cooked is too risky for these experts.
Any raw produce has the potential to contain disease-causing pathogens, which is why it’s important to wash fruits and vegetables before eating them, Keith Schneider, Ph.D, professor in the Food Science and Human Nutrition Department at the University of Florida, tells TODAY.com.
However, raw sprouts have a much higher risk of carrying disease-causing pathogens compared to other produce, says Schneider. “It’s very hard to produce sprouts in a completely safe manner,” he adds.
Sprouts require warm, moist conditions to grow, which are also ideal conditions for pathogens like E. coli, salmonella, or listeria, to grow, according to the CDC.
“Raw sprouts have been incriminated in a number of outbreaks in the U.S.,” Robert Gravani, Ph.D., professor emertitus of food science at Cornell University, tells TODAY.com.