Studies confirming the presence of Salmonella and E. coli in sprouts have led "Health Canada" to warn Canadians, especially children and the elderly to be wary of the risk involved in consuming them.
Sprouts are a popular choice as a low-calorie food among Canadians. But the harmful bacteria that may be harbored in them can cause severe illness.
Contaminated sprouts have been found to be the cause behind several outbreaks of Salmonella and E. coli infections. The most recent one occurred in Canada in the fall of 2005, with 648 cases of Salmonella being reported in Ontario.
Health experts warn that it is better to avoid eating cooked sprouts unless you can be sure they have been properly cooked.
Crisp sprouts that have been refrigerated only should be bought. Those that appear dark or smell stale must be avoided. A tongs or a glove should always be used while handling the sprouts, they advise.
Symptoms from Salmonella infection show up after 12 to 36 hours while symptoms from E. coli O157:H7 can crop up within two to 10 days.
Symptoms include vomiting, stomach cramps, and fever. People with these symptoms should be taken to a doctor immediately. In severe infections, E. coli O157:H7 can cause kidney failure or even death.