Analysis of Published Sprout Seed Sanitization Studies Shows Treatments Are Highly Variable

Analysis of published sprout seed sanitization studies shows treatments are highly variable.

J Food Prot. 2004 Apr;67(4):758-65. Montville R, Schaffner DW.
Food Risk Analysis Initiative, Rutgers University, 65 Dudley Road, New Brunswick, New Jersey 08901-8520, USA.

Consumption of raw sprouts has caused many foodborne illness outbreaks in the last decade, and most outbreaks have been linked to contaminated seeds. Many seed sanitization treatments have been studied as a means to reduce the risk of illness associated with sprouts. Published data on seed sanitization were analyzed collectively to identify factors that influenced the efficacy of seed sanitization and to determine the variability associated with various sanitization processes. Temperature and duration of the sanitization treatment were found to produce a negligible effect on log microbial reductions. Salmonella, Escherichia coli O157:H7, and total aerobic microorganisms were all inactivated at similar rates. Data were fit to triangular or uniform distributions for 16 different chemical treatments. Among the most effective treatments were 8% hydrogen peroxide (uniform distribution [2.5, 4.5]), 20,000 ppm of chlorine (triangular distribution [1, 2.5, 6.5]), and 1% Ca(OH)2 (triangular distribution [0.5, 4, 5]). Chemical treatments where more published data were available showed more variability.