The consumption of raw sprouts has been linked to more than 30 outbreaks of foodborne illness throughout North America in the past 15 years, affecting tens of thousands of people.
The first consumer warning about sprouts was issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control in 1997. By July 9, 1999, FDA had advised all Americans to be aware of the risks associated with eating raw sprouts and that the best way to control the risk was to simply not eat raw sprouts. The FDA stated that it would monitor the situation and take any further actions required to protect consumers.
At the time, Canadian media depicted the U.S. response as panic at the disco, quoting Health Canada officials who said while some people were at risk, sprouts were generally a low-risk product.
Last year, a salmonella outbreak sickened 650 people in Ontario, Canada due to contaminated mung bean sprouts. Today, the risk of contracting salmonella from bean sprouts remains the same due to the way they are grown and that they are nearly impossible to wash.