University of Georgia scientists have developed a method to make fresh alfalfa sprouts safer to eat by treating the seeds used to grow them. Responsible for at least 39 outbreaks of Salmonella and E. coli since 1990, sprouts need the help. And it looks like changes really are afoot
UGA food microbiologist Michael Doyle and his colleague Tong Zhao have developed a new process to soak seeds in a solution that kills pathogens. The Food and Drug Administration consider its components safe for use in sprouts and several foods, Doyle said. UGA is in the process of patenting the process.
The new UGA treatment is safe for sprout growers to use and promotes better seed germination. “The more seeds that sprout, the better the profitability for the grower,” said Doyle, director of the UGA Center for Food Safety in Griffin, Ga.
Research and development into better agriculture practices, and adhering to good manufacturing practices like those routinely employed by Bob Sanderson (president of ISGA–International Sprout Growers Association) at Jonathan Sprouts, will mean a better decade for sproutbreaks than the last two.