Germany, Denmark, and the UK have all now withdrawn their advice against eating raw “bean sprouts.” I put bean sprouts in quotes because the latest theory is that “fenugreek” sprouts were the culprit. Fenugreek is NOT a BEAN sprout like mung, soy, or lentils. Fenugreek is a “leafy green” sprout. But that misnomer is unfortunately the level of ignorance governments show when dealing with sprouts.
Remember, to this date, no E-coli has been found on the farm in the Saxony region of Germany that was implicated in this outbreak. None in the sprout factory, none in their fields, and none in their garbage. Sadly, this sprout company is NOT a member of the International Sprout Growers Association (ISGA) so we do not know anything about their safety practices. Keep in mind that the ISGA has a protocol for growing sprouts safely and they take safety VERY seriously.
The sprout industry in Germany, and the USA for that matter, is small enough so there is no economic penalty even if sprouts were to be banned. However, there is a stigma on exports hanging over Germany from this calamitous outbreak and it is hoped that this formal reversal give a welcome lift to the depressed German market for exports.
Remember, any food can become contaminated. It does little to blame the sprouts, or blame the cucumbers or blame the tomatoes or blame the spinach. Our focus should be on the source of the E-Coli and Salmonella which is the manure from cows and chickens.
Our focus needs to be on regulating the cattle industry, which is a big, wealthy lobby that wants no restrictions. We need to focus on how that contamination is spread—thru dust, thru water, thru hands, thru boots on the ground, thru the co-mingling of our food via the international food distribution network and on the prophylactic use of anti-biotics in cattle feed to prevent disease. The result is virulent strains of e-coli that have become resistant to our best antibiotics. That is why the doctors lost so many patients in Germany. From my prospective, this is where we need to start.