The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), in cooperation with Illinois Institute of Technology’s Institute for Food Safety and Health (IIT IFSH), created the Sprout Safety Alliance (SSA) in 2012 to enhance the industry's understanding and implementation of best practices for improving sprout safety. The SSA develops a core curriculum and training and outreach programs for stakeholders in the sprout production community.
The Alliance is composed of the food industry, academia, and members from federal, state, and local food protection agencies. It is funded by a grant from FDA to IIT IFSH, a nationally-recognized leader in food safety, food defense and nutrition science and research.
In January 2013, the FDA released for public comment a Final Rule proposed rule on Preventive Controls for Human Food and a Final Rules proposed rule on Standards for Produce Safety, required by the 2011 FDA Food Safety Modernization Act. The Produce Rule establishes science-based standards for the production and harvesting of certain produce, including sprouts.
In addition to the general requirements in the Final Rule applicable to producers of various produce commodities, including sprouts, specific requirements would be established for sprouts. More information about the Final Rules can be found here: http://www.fda.gov/Food/FoodSafety/FSMA/default.htm
SSA is also developing curriculum and training programs to assist sprout producers in understanding of the requirements outlined in the finalized rule on standards for produce safety.
Support to Industry
The Sprout Safety Alliance will:
- Develop training materials to assist sprouters in adopting best practices for risk reduction in the production of sprouts
- Develop training materials that facilitate industry understanding and implementation of relevant requirements in the finalized rule on Standards for Produce Safety
- Provide tools to assist growers in conducting self-audits of their sprouting operations and production practices to minimize microbial hazards associated with sprouts
- Serve as a network hub and resource for the sprout industry, and federal and state regulatory agencies
- Develop a technical assistance network for the sprout industry
- Collaborate with AFDO, USDA, states, trade associations and land-grant university extension services to provide classroom and distance training and workshops for stakeholders across the U.S.
How Can I Participate?
The Sprout Safety Alliance (SSA) invites all stakeholders from the sprout industry, trade associations, regulatory agencies and academia to participate and collaborate in the creation of a national training curriculum and educational outreach programs for the sprout production community.
If you are interested in serving on one or both of the SSA Working Groups, please contact SSA Coordinator Kaiping Deng at firstname.lastname@example.org.