Raw Green Beans

Asked August 8, 2018, 5:48 PM EDT

Are raw green beans safe to eat? Some people say they are safe to eat raw and other people say that they can be toxic.

Coos County Oregon food safety green beans

1 Response

Green beans, also known as string beans, are indeed safe to eat raw, (fresh or frozen) given of course, that you have properly washed them.

It may be confusing to you and others since some DRIED beans, like kidney and cannellini beans, are NOT safe to eat raw and must be cooked before consuming. They contain high amounts of the toxin phytohenagglutinin. According to the FDA, boiling dried beans in water for at least 10 minutes breaks down this toxin.

All dried beans contain some of this toxin so it is recommended they are cooked until soft (25-45 min). This would include those like black beans, pinto, Lima, kidney and cannellini beans and black-eyed-peas, etc. It is not recommended to cook raw dried beans in a slow cooker since temperatures do not reach the level necessary to destroy the toxin. You can, however, boil dried beans for 10 minutes in water and then safely move them into a slow cooker.

If you purchase cans of beans, they are safe to eat since they have been pre-cooked in the canning process. Canned beans can be consumed cold out of the can in salads or salsas, or reheated in soups or casseroles.