Institute for Food Safety and Health at Illinois Tech Developed Milestone Best Practices for Sprout Production

New Findings, Released in Conjunction with the International Sprout Growers Association, Signifies Watershed Moment in Standardizing Best-Practices for Sprout Growers

Chicago, IL — April 1, 2019 — The International Sprout Growers Association (ISGA) and the Institute for Food Safety and Health (IFSH) announce the publication of the US Sprout Industry Production Best Practices. This document has been updated to comply with the Food Safety Modernization Act Final Rule on Produce Safety. It is now available to sprout growers and interested industry partners. 

The Best Practices, which models the United Fresh Produce Association’s Harmonized Food Safety Standard, is first of its kind that addresses risk factors that are unique to sprouts and establishes production practices and requirements to minimize potential food safety risks. The document also includes verification procedures and recommended approaches for corrective actions. 

The Sprout Production Best Practices is authored by the IFSH Sprout Safety Task Force (a stakeholder group representing all segments of the sprout industry - including sprout growers, seed suppliers, food service and retail industry, and other technical experts from industry, academia and government (FDA, USDA)).

The Sprout Production Best Practices is:

  • Developed and owned by the sprout industry.

  • The basis of a sprout safety audit program.

  • A living document, which will continue to be revised in response to FDA guidance and as new best practices are developed.

Sprout industry leaders believe that an industry wide audit program is essential to ensure that the industry is implementing the food safety best practices and is meeting regulatory requirements. The IFSH Sprout Safety Task Force is working with USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) in developing a commodity specific audit designed for sprout growers based on the Production Best Practices. The USDA AMS sprout safety audit would be a good option for sprout growers. It focuses specifically on sprouts, is inexpensive, comprehensive and verified with additional unannounced audits. The Safe Quality Food Institute (SQFI) is using the best practices to modify their sprout audits, and other audit companies are welcome to adopt the best practices in their audit programs.

For more information, contact Barbara Sanderson, Jonathan’s Sprouts, and Chair, Sprout Safety Task Force at, 508-763-2577. 

Access the US Sprout Industry Production Best Practices document at this website: or contact Rich Wolfe, ISGA,, 401-615-7990.