Food for Thought

FoodFor Thought

SproutNet

ISS

August 21, 2000

Mosthealthy people can handle small doses of Salmonella or E.coli 0157:H7.  Itis the sick, young and elderly who take it the hardest.  However, if thedose is high enough, it can cause a problem to nearly anyone.  This is a problem with sprouts.  If sprouts become contaminated in theearly stages of production, as can happen when contaminated seed is used, thedoses become very, very high. 

In theUkraine, last week, according to a story in the PA news, dozens of guests at asilver wedding anniversary party were struck down with salmonella (not fromsprouts).  The story says that 49 people of the 130 guests who hadattended the party were hospitalized; 19 adults and four children were reportedin serious condition.

StroudDistrict Council environmental health officer Philip Park was quoted as saying,"Several food samples taken from leftovers tested positive for salmonellabut we have not been able to identify the specific foods related to the illness.A number of foods appeared to be contaminated."

Inthis case, the people may have gotten a little sick to their if one of the foodswere contaminated.  But, because several of the foods were contaminated,the guests received a very high dose of salmonella and became very ill.

Commercialsprout producers create perfect growing conditions for sprouts andpathogens alike.  One salmonella bacteria cell may grow to 1,000,000 cellsin 48 hours.  This is why when people get ill from sprouts they get verysick.  This highlights the importance or purchasing well sampled, tested,un-scarified, undamaged seed, then sanitizing it, and post testing the crop. ISS offers this seed and can help you with any questions about how to sanitizeand test it.