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Sprouting Seeds and Beans

Updated: Sep 25, 2019

OAR 333-150-0000, CHAPTER 3-502.11

The only time I experienced someone sprouting seeds and legumes was in a restaurant in San Francisco when I was still cooking (decades ago now). We made a “Power Salad” with the live foods such as sprouted legumes and seeds. I have not seen any restaurants sprouting but we all know how trends go. If this is something you have thought about, you need to familiarize yourself with the potential dangers in the sprouting practice and apply for a variance from the State before you get started.



In June 2011 vegetable sprouts from Germany contaminated with bacteria killed more than 30 people and sickened more than 3,000, and the outbreak. Sprouts have been at the heart of several outbreaks. They were linked to an outbreak of Salmonella in the UK in 2010 and at least 30 outbreaks in the US since 1996.


A quick rundown on the science behind the new rule:

Sprouts are soaked and kept warm (in the temperature danger zone where bacteria grow well 41F – 135F) to sprout.The seeds can be contaminated with harmful bacteria that also grow well in these conditions. E. coli can double in 20 minutes, so within a few hours they can reach a dangerous level.The bacteria of primary concern include Salmonella, Listeria, and E. coli.Washing sprouts will not get rid of the bacteria; only cooking will.

If you are growing sprouts, you need to stop and contact the Oregon Health Authority for more information on obtaining a variance. If you are serving sprouts on your menu, make sure you understand the risks involved and the risk of a foodborne illness outbreak in your facility.

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