Food Safety Focus (101st Issue, December 2014) – Food Incident Highlight
Plant Growth Regulators in Bean Sprouts
From time to time, there are media reports about the use of plant growth regulators (PGRs), compounds that modify and control the growth and development of plants, to produce rootless bean sprouts and shorten their growing time. To understand the local situation on PGR residues in bean sprout, the Centre for Food Safety has collected bean sprout samples from the local market for testing. Risk assessment based on the highest levels of PGR residues detected shows that normal consumption of the bean sprout samples will not pose health risk to consumers.
While PGRs can be used in agriculture to produce crops with enhanced yield and quality, members of the trade are advised to use PGRs in accordance with Good Agricultural Practice to keep the levels of PGR residues in food to a minimum. They should also ensure the bean sprout produced is fit for human consumption and complies with local regulations. The public can wash bean sprouts well for several times; then soak them in water for one hour before consumption.