What's Sprouting?

My very pregnant sister was gracious enough to request a blog entry on the link between sprouts, like alfalfa and mung bean, and food borne illnesses for pregnant women. Well, my timing is terrible! Not only has she given birth to my beautiful niece, but Violet is now 2 months old. Despite the fact that I’m a little slow at responding this is still an important message for pregnant women and anyone else who might be immunocompromised.

For some strange reason sprouts tend to be forgotten when discussing risky foods for pregnant women, hence why my sister at baby number three, was shocked to discover she couldn’t grow her own sprouts anymore. The common foods known to increase one’s risk of a food borne illness include: raw eggs, soft cheese like feta and Brie, deli meat including hot dogs, raw fish and fruit like cantaloupe.

According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, the most likely source of sprout contamination is the seeds that are used to grow the sprouts. Seeds may become contaminated in the field or during storage, and the warm and humid conditions required to grow sprouts are ideal for the rapid growth of bacteria. Improper handling and poor hygiene in sprout production have also caused some sprout-related outbreaks of foodborne illness in the past.

Sprouts have caused so many problems it is recommended that pregnant women and anyone who is immunocompromised avoid sprouts altogether. However, I understand the twisted craving you’re now going to have for sprouts since I just told you can’t eat them plus we’ve just spent a whole post talking about them. So, if you can’t avoid them for 9months please make sure to cook them well! Keep hot foods hot (60°C) and do not let raw or cooked food sit at room temperature for any longer than 2 hours.

Since I’m on a role of depriving you of your favourite foods, I stumbled upon another unsuspecting product that has been causing a lot of problems recently – ice cream! Apparently, bacterium can survive on metal surfaces—such as the interior of soft ice cream machines and may contaminate batch after batch of products. Almost half of all ice cream outbreaks occurred in private homes, which is most likely due to the use of undercooked eggs in homemade ice cream. So when you’re craving ice cream this summer – please splurge at the ice cream store and not venture in making your own.