Can Microgreens Make You Sick? (Solved & Explained!)

Microgreens are healthy greens full of vitamins that many people eat raw. However, these greens can easily make you sick if they are unwashed. Pesticides and cross-contamination quickly lead to sickness. The sickness that can come from eating raw microgreens is the largest downfall to eating this nutritious garnish.

Fortunately, washing microgreens can prevent you from getting ill. Washing microgreens before consumption is essential, even if they are grown inside. As a raw garnish, there are many risk factors involving bacteria and cross-contamination. Always rinse your microgreens first to make them safe for consumption. Rinsing removes surface layer pathogens like listeria and mold.

Will You Get Sick from Microgreens?

Unwashed microgreens can make you sick. Bacteria lingers on the exterior of the microgreens, including pathogens like salmonella. Microgreens are a delicious raw veggie that makes an excellent garnish, but these hidden bacterias can be lethal.

Whether the bacteria comes from harmful pesticides in the soil or cross-contamination in the kitchen, it is unsafe to consume unwashed microgreens. To be safe to eat, you must wash your microgreens rigorously and prepare your food using proper kitchen safety procedures.

How do microgreens make you sick?

If you consume unwashed microgreens, you risk contaminating yourself with bacteria-covered microgreens. This bacteria covers your microgreens for several reasons, one of the most common being cross-contamination. Several other things can lead to sickness from ingesting microgreens, like being covered in pathogens.

Because most microgreens are consumed raw, you must take precautions to avoid consuming unclean veggies. Wash these veggies first and carefully observe your microgreens before garnishing the plate with microgreens or eating them raw.

How do microgreens become cross-contaminated?

Cross-contamination usually happens when people fail to perform proper sanitation in the kitchen. In other words, they forget to wash or change their utensils and cutting boards while prepping food. People make these mistakes because microgreens are garnishes. Therefore, chefs usually cut microgreens last.

Cutting these tiny veggies as the last step of your preparation process can easily lead to cross-contamination, especially between raw meats and microgreens. Cross-contamination with raw meat and veggies is extremely dangerous for your health. Common pathogens like salmonella are the frequent result of cross-contamination in the kitchen.

How do microgreens become molded? 

There are several ways that your microgreens can become moldy. The most common reason microgreens become moldy is that people put them in the fridge before drying. Putting soaking wet microgreens in your fridge can accumulate mold because of the excessive moisture trapped between the leaves.

Microgreens are kept in water but forgetting to drain them after daily watering can create excessive moisture. The moisture build-up will easily lead to molding when storing it in a cold refrigerator.

How do you avoid getting sick from microgreens?

The easiest way to avoid getting sick from microgreens is by washing these microgreens under clean, running water. Generally, washing the bacteria from the top layer of your microgreens will make your microgreens safe for consumption.

Avoiding cross-contamination is an important part of eating microgreens safely. Harvest microgreens with a clean knife and always change your cutting board between uses. Many beginner cooks forget to change their cutting boards when moving from raw meats to vegetables. This careless error can be fatal.

How do you clean microgreens? 

You can clean raw microgreens by washing them under a running faucet or dipping them into a bowl of clean water. The water should be cold and fresh. Gently run your tiny veggies under the running water and soak them thoroughly. Using a colander or the rinse and pat methods are a few other great methods for removing pathogens like E. coli. 

Depending on the type and amount of bacteria, the microgreens may require more rinsing. Additionally, changing the temperature of the water can help with eliminating bacteria. For instance, boiling water has a major influence on the removal of mold build-up. 

Why and how does washing microgreens help remove bacteria?

The washing process removes harmful bacteria from your microgreens because bacteria typically covers the surface layer. According to the popular website Microgreens World, microgreens will make you sick when you eat them unwashed. But, you can wash pathogens existing on the surface layer of healthy microgreens with running water and consume them. 

If you notice a lot of mold growing, remove it by gently pouring boiling water on your microgreens. Boiling water is an efficient way of simultaneously removing mold and sanitizing your microgreens.

What are the side effects of getting sick from eating microgreens?

Generally, the most common side effects from eating microgreens include vomiting, diarrhea, and fever. These negative side effects from eating microgreens can vary. All the side effects from eating microgreens are directly associated with the illness you are experiencing.

The side effects that people are experiencing make it easier to determine what illness they have. Vomiting and diarrhea are quick identifiers of salmonella, a common cross-contamination pathogen.

What types of microgreens make you sick?

All microgreens can make you sick if you do not wash them. Eating anything straight from your microgreen garden can be dangerous to your health, so avoid eating raw greens. The growth and the handling of microgreens have a large impact on the safety of your microgreens. Fertilizers, pesticides, and other chemicals covering your microgreens can make them extremely toxic to consume. 

Eating old expired microgreens can also make you sick. Even if expired microgreens are not mold-covered, they have no nutritious value. Expired microgreens can still be covered with numerous other pathogens like salmonella or E. coli. Like other food, it is best to avoid consuming anything contaminated or pathogen-covered.

Are there benefits to eating microgreens?

Microgreens are a great source of vitamins and nutrients. They might be small, but they have many similar benefits that larger greens do. However, they only provide a micro amount of these proteins and minerals. 

The amount of nutrients in a single serving of microgreens is not enough for the average person’s daily intake. It would require eating excessive amounts of microgreens to achieve your daily vitamin and caloric intake.