Health Canada is reminding Canadians that raw or undercooked sprouts should not be eaten by children, older adults, pregnant women or those with weakened immune systems.
Health Canada used to say raw sprouts should be avoided if concerned about illness, but now they are more direct. That 2005 outbreak in Ontario involving more than 648 cases of Salmonella linked to mung bean sprouts may have something to do with the newfound directness.
Fresh produce can sometimes be contaminated with harmful bacteria while in the field or during storage or handling. This is particularly a concern with sprouts. Many outbreaks of Salmonella and E. coli infections have been linked to contaminated sprouts.
Children, older adults, pregnant women and those with weakened immune systems are particularly vulnerable to these bacteria and should not eat any raw sprouts at all. They should also avoid eating cooked sprouts unless they can be sure the sprouts have been thoroughly cooked.