Are homegrown alfalfa sprouts safe?

What about alfalfa sprouts that we grow ourselves? Are the seeds contaminated (so sprouts I grow at home will be too), or is just sprouts offered by restaurants that needed to be avoided?

tbarron / Originally posted on Update on Alfalfa Sprouts


Excellent question! Turns out it appears to be contamination I caution against in Don’t Eat Raw Alfalfa Sprouts and Update on Alfalfa Sprouts if in the sprout seed itself, and so even if we sprout them ourselves we may be putting our family at risk.

The answer? Sprout broccoli sprouts instead. They are safer (see my video Broccoli Sprouts)–and healthier too! Check these videos out and be amazed:

They are kind of pungent, though. If anyone has found a good way to incorporate broccoli sprouts into their diet please share!

Image Credit: Satoru Kikuchi / Flickr

  • Terry

    what about watercress and radish sprouts, are they safe from contamination if grown at home?

    • Susan

      Buy the seeds from a widely known organic company with a long track record and sprout your own with purified carbon filtered water to reduce the pesticide use.

  • ledabeth

    You can sneak them into green smoothies and add them to salads without changing the flavor too much. Anyway they aren’t that bad! BTW/ a typo in your piece. Should be “is” in the seed itself.

  • Bill

    Why are broccoli sprouts safer? Without looking into it I would assume the broccolu seeds would be subject to the same contamination possibilities during harvest that afflict alfalfa and mung bean seeds.

    • Susan

      Not certain that all broccoli seeds are as yet genetically modified with bacteria, such as E-coli or other organisms of other species, as yet. But, alfalfa definitely are. Since E-coli is one of the bacteria of choice, the seeds may will be contaminated.
      If you are not concerned about genetically engineered ingredients, have you read the clinical effects of biologics pharms? They are horrible, and often they use E-coli either to move an organism into the new DNA and will make us sick, or are somehow involved in the process.

      Both Prolia (denosumab) and bisphosonate biological pharms are made from recombinant dna including E-coli in order to increase bone strength, however they both have very serious side effects, reduce blood calcium, contribute to bone fractures, and have been linked to cancers.
      For Prolia, see:

      Two different neurosurgeons have recommended these. I would rather not go this way. I’m trying to eat healthy organic and quickly grow bone. Why reverse this? And why eat potentially genetically engineered alfalfa or mung bean seeds that may also be altered through genetic engineering? Sounds like you are setting yourself up for more dangerous side effects that won’t easily go away.

  • Phebe Phillips

    Most often, contamination of sprouting seeds comes from two sources: 1) Genetic contamination of the seed germ. In this case, you can be as careful as possible, and it doesn’t matter. The seed is genetically flawed. 2) A watering source that is contaminated by animal run-off, or dirty water. Also personal filth from an inconsiderate handler could be a contamination source.

    There is no documentation of contamination of sprouts when 100% certified organic seed is used. Purchase these seeds from a reputable supplier with a documented long history of business. If planting in a sprouting tray using soil to produce a micro-green, use organic soil, also purchased from a reliable source. Water with filtered water.

    My personal favorite is sprouting broccoli using a shallow tray with soil to create micro-greens. I cut them for use in a smoothie, juice them, and garnish a yummy raw soup.

    Hope this is helpful.

    Phebe Phillips, Certified Raw Vegan Chef, and former caretaker of the Sprout House at The Tree of Life Rejuvenation Center in Patagonia, Arizona.

  • I grow mixed sprouts and put them in a magic bullet blender with hemp seeds and pineapple juice. tastes pretty good to me.