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Update on Alfalfa Sprouts

Raw alfalfa sprouts continue to be associated with outbreaks of foodborne illness.

August 16, 2010 |
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Supplementary Info

Sources Cited


Image thanks to artist in doing nothing.


Which ones have changed? Let’s start at the beginning and work our way across. Alfalfa sprouts, considered dangerous because of the risk of food poisoning, but what’s the latest? Should we keep avoiding raw alfalfa sprouts? Yes. Another major Salmonella outbreak last year. The FDA and CDC recommend not eating raw alfalfa sprouts. So I continue to encourage people to eat broccoli sprouts instead.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by veganmontreal.

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Dr. Michael Greger

Doctor's Note

Please feel free to post any ask-the-doctor type questions here in the comments section and I’d be happy to try to answer them. And check out the other videos on sprouts. Also, there are 1,686 other subjects covered in the rest of my videos--please feel free to explore them as well!

For more context, check out my associated blog post, Breast Cancer Stem Cells vs. Broccoli.

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  • tbarron

    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?

    Thanks for the great site!

    • Michael Greger M.D.

      Excellent question! Turns out it appears to be contamination of 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. Safer–and healthier too! They are kind of pungent, though. If anyone has found a good way to incorporate broccoli sprouts into their diet please share!

      • Kristen Suzanne

        I used to love (read: hide) them with mashed avocado and sauerkraut but now that I saw your videos on avocado and kimchi… Not sure I’ll be doing that as much.

  • Patrick McNerthney

    What is your opinion on home grown Clover sprouts?

  • Patrick McNerthney

    Lately, I have been sprouting Clover seeds at home. What is your opinion on the nutrition and safely of Clover sprouts?

  • Michael Greger M.D.
  • Michael Greger M.D.

    Please also feel free to check out my associated blog post:!

  • Michael Greger M.D.

    Please also feel free to check out my associated blog post: <a href="Please also feel free to check out my associated blog post:!” title=”Breast Cancer Stem Cells vs. Broccoli”>!

  • Michael Greger M.D.

    Please also feel free to check out my associated blog post:!

  • Michael Greger M.D.

    Please also feel free to check out my associated blog post:

  • Michael Greger M.D.

    Please feel free to check out my associated blog post, Breast Cancer Stem Cells vs. Broccoli!

  • wchiwink

    ohoh, i’ve been eating my homemade alfalfa sprouts for years, organic, here in france…but mostly prefer sprouts of all radishes, leeks, fenugreek, lentils…have a harder time with broccoli and parsley sprouts though (even though i love broccoli)
    can we get too much iron from certain sprouts while menopaused?

    • Toxins

      The primary difference between heme iron (animal based) and plant based iron is that when one consumes heme iron, it is absorbed through our small intestines and our small intestine has no way of keeping it out. When our body has had enough iron when consuming plant based foods, our body can actively block iron absorption.

      Too much animal based iron is linked with many health issues including  breast cancer because iron is a pro oxidizer.
      “A high intake of iron in developed societies may, over time, lead to a
      physiological state of iron overload in postmenopausal women. Iron
      overload favors the production of…DNA damage, and may contribute to
      [breast cancer] independently or by [accelerating the rate of damage
      from other carcinogens and oxidizers]“

  • hsugarmill

    How to eat broccoli sprouts? How about a lemon-olive oil dressing with lots of raw garlic?

  • Kevin

    Bacterias are in the air, they’re everywhere. Now humidity and a good growing media is all they need. If that study is to be taken seriously, then many other sprouts would be a problem (if not all of them). So my question is : why broccoli is safer? Any study prove no pathological bacteria grow on broccoli sprouts?