The CDC just announced that one person died and two were hospitalized from bean sprouts infected with listeria. The worse bean sprout outbreak was from Germany were 53 died and almost 4,000 people were infected.
Bean Sprouts are recalled for bacterial contamination more than most all fresh produce. Sense they are grown in water it is easy for bacteria to spread. Many things can go wrong at the bean sprout factory. in the case of Germany the seeds used to make the sprouts were infected with E.coli. Someone in charge of disinfecting the could make a mistake. Verman could get in the plant.
The US Government suggest that people over 65 should not eat raw sprouts. Their defences against bacterial breakdown with age. At that age they are more likely to get things like Kidney Failure from bacteria. I personally would suggest that children under six should not eat raw sprouts.. There immune system is not fully developed. I would also suggest that pregnant woman should avoid them. If a woman has to take an antibiotic during pregnancy their child is more likely to develop allergy or asthma later in life. Also if the sprouts are infected with listeria it can infect the fetus..
Bean Sprouts do have a lot of vitamins in them. If you are healthy and not under 6 or over 65 your body is able to handle infections. If you do get a contaminated batch you would probably be sick a few days but with no long term consequences.