Food Standards Agency
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Agency advice on cooking bean sprouts

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has recently reminded people of the importance of good hygiene practice when handling and cooking raw bean sprouts.

An investigation into an outbreak of salmonella by the Health Protection Agency and Health Protection Scotland has identified possible links to raw bean sprouts. There have been 58 cases reported in England since the start of August and 15 cases in Scotland.

The investigation is ongoing and no conclusive source has been identified. However, as a precaution the FSA is reminding people of its advice on preparing and cooking bean sprouts.

The Agency says: to be completely safe, cook bean sprouts thoroughly until they are steaming hot. If you add large bean sprouts to a stir-fry, let them simmer for a few minutes.

Before cooking:

  • Rinse raw bean sprouts thoroughly.
  • Avoid sprouts that have turned brown or have a strange odour.
  • Follow any instructions on the packaging and use the bean sprouts by the ‘use by’ dates.
  • Keep them refrigerated.

People with weakened immune systems, as well as the very old and the very young, should not eat raw sprouts.

The cases of salmonella under investigation are not linked to the ongoing investigation of an outbreak of Salmonella Typhimurium DT8 that has been linked to duck eggs. The two investigations involve different strains of salmonella and are separate.

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