Are homegrown sprouts safe?

 In this brief article, we shall answer if homegrown sprouts are safe for consumption. We will also discuss what factors help in determining the level of safety or enhance it. This article will also answer what are the advantages, disadvantages and the process by which homegrown sprouts are produced.

Are homegrown sprouts safe?

Most of the sprouts are safe for consumption. In the early 2000s, they were considered a threat due to the frequency of causing major foodborne illness outbreaks. 

This was due to microbial contamination by Salmonella spp. & Escherichia coli. They can be commercially or homegrown.

What are sprouts?

Sprouts are germinated seeds mostly of alfalfa, clovers, sunflower, broccoli, mustard, and several types of beans, including soybeans.

How do you produce sprouts at home?

Sprouts are grown at home by soaking the seeds in water. The seeds are  drained and spread out in trays/drums to which they germinate. The seeds are well supplied with nutrients and are  harvested within 3-12 days. 

Note the seeds should be from a verified vendor and the water used in the process should not contain any traces/colonies of Salmonella spp. & Listeria monocytogenes. This enhances the probability of/if the sprouts will be safe for consumption.  

What are the factors affecting the safeness of homegrown sprouts?

These are the various factors when observed determine the safeness of homegrown sprouts. They are as follows: 

  • The quality of seeds.
  • Cooking quality.
  • Storage.
  • Level of contamination.
  • Antihistamine reactions. 

The quality of seeds. 

Most seeds are rough-coated and may serve as a habitat in which microbial contaminants such as Salmonella spp. attach. 

This colonization later leads to contaminated sprouts that lead to illness when ingested. Well decontaminated and high-quality seeds reduce the possibility of food-borne illness. Quality seeds can be sourced from here.

Cooking quality.

Excellent culinary skills help in ridding off any possible contamination of sprouts. Some of the recipes can be found here. Some of the sprouts can be eaten raw with a bit of customized seasoning, for example garlic sprouts. 

Storage. 

The recommended storage temperature is below 48℉. Any temperatures above these lead to the growth of microbes leading to contamination. 

The preferred storage conditions are; that the sprouts are stored at or below 48℉, they should also be stored in clean and sanitary environments.this inturn makes home grown sprouts safe for consumption.

Level of contamination. 

The Food Safety Modernization Act of 2011, outlined the principles behind the production of sprouts and hydroponics and others. 

They stated that the surrounding areas and items used in production(including water) are tested for microbial contamination by Salmonella spp. & Listeria monocytogenes to be of less than three colony-forming units.

For Salmonella spp. 3-10 colony forming units may cause a severe case of food poisoning. The environs and water used to irrigate the sprouts should be thoroughly screened for any traces of the same microbes i.e Salmonella spp. Some symptoms of food poisoning include diarrhea, vomiting and nausea.

This act was developed in partnership with the government and the Food and Drug Administration in 2011. It was signed into action by President Barack Obama. It was established to curb the high level of foodborne illness in the early 2000s.

Antihistamine reactions/allergy.

Allergies are antihistamine reactions of the body towards foreign materials. They may occur as inflammations, vomiting, nausea and headaches. As you prepare to eat sprouts, consider the possibility that it may be an allergen.  

What are the advantages of consuming sprouts?

These are the advantages of consuming homegrown sprouts.Sprouts are easy to produce at home and thus cost-effective. 

They are low in calories, fats, and sodium traces. Sprouts are rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and various phytochemicals. They are also easy to prepare, others are also eaten raw such as garlic sprouts. 

They offer a boost to the immune system and promote good heart health. They are also time saving, instead of the normal farm production period of 3 or more months they only take days to mature. Sprouts are very palatable. 

What are the disadvantages of consuming sprouts?

There are few disadvantages as discussed here.If they are contaminated by fungi and bacteria they become a direct threat and cause food poisoning. Most symptoms appear after 4-72 hours after ingestion. 

They are also responsible for major foodborne illness outbreaks, especially in May and October 1999.

Conclusion   

From this brief article, we have answered the question: are homegrown sprouts safe? We have also discussed the various factors that promote the safety of hometown sprouts and how to produce them at home. We have also listed the various advantages and disadvantages of homegrown sprouts. 

Citations.

Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.