The Kroger Co. announced the company will discontinue the sale of sprouts due to its potential food safety risk.
The company announced last Friday they will cease the deliveries of sprouts to Kroger distribution centers and stores on Monday, Oct. 22.
“After a thorough, science-based review, we have decided to voluntarily discontinue selling fresh sprouts,” said Payton Pruett, Kroger’s vice president of food safety. “Testing and sanitizing by the growers and safe food handling by the consumer are the critical steps to protect against food-borne illness. Sprouts present a unique challenge because pathogens may reside inside of the seeds where they cannot be reached by the currently available processing interventions. Out of an abundance of caution, the Kroger Family of Stores will no longer sell fresh sprouts or procure other foods that are produced on the same equipment as sprouts.”
Pruett said the company will be open to revisit their policy when new technology and practices indicate farmers can consistently produce sprout seeds that do not internalize pathogens and when sprout processing environments can be enhanced for safety and cleanliness.