US: Chlorine Dioxide Gas Offers Hope for Sprout Sanitation
Researchers at Rutgers University and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) have found that chlorine dioxide gas is more effective at killing Salmonella on bean sprouts than chlorine wash — the industry-preferred decontamination technique.
Sprouted seeds have a long, and poor, contamination record. Since 1995, at least 51 outbreaks in the U.S. and Canada have been linked to sprouts. Of those outbreaks, 39 were linked to Salmonella.
While the sprouted seed industry has been searching for a surefire way to sanitize its product, cleaning sprouts is tricky because the food is sensitive and any harsh treatment could affect its color or taste. Sprouts are also harder to treat because, as with other fresh produce, the porous, uneven surface of sprouted seeds provides many places for bacteria to tuck themselves away.