Highlights of SSA Accomplishments

SSA Training Course Completed:

Course Name

Date

Location

TTT Pilot Course

August 30-September 1, 2016

Chicago, IL

Sprouter Training and TTT Combo Course

November 16-17, 2016

Chicago, IL

Sprouter Training

November 29-December 1, 2016

Davis, CA

TTT Course

January 10-12, 2017

Richmond, CA


The SSA Training Curriculum version 1.0  finalized in August 2016 

It is 449 pages long, including 12 chapters, the FSMA Produce Safety Rule and related documents, and 43 sample documents. Version 2.0 is being developed based on the feedback received from SSA training courses and the FDA guidance for sprout operation that recently released for public comment.

Webinar "Upcoming SSA Training" Hosted by the SSA

The Sprout Safety Alliance (SSA) hosted a webinar "Upcoming SSA Training" to the SSA Education/Outreach Working Group and potential SSA trainers on July 15, 2016. Dr. Kaiping Deng, Co-Lead of the Sprout Safety Alliance, provided an overview of the SSA curriculum and update on trainer development process. Dr. Michelle Smith, Senior Policy Analyst from FDA, provided an overview of FDA regulatory inspection training. Please click the link below for the presentation and its recording:

Webinar Upcoming SSA Training        

SSA-FDA Webinar -2016

The Sprout Safety Alliance (SSA) hosted a FDA webinar “Final Rule for Produce Safety: Key Provisions in the Rule” on January 14, 2016. Dr. Annemarie Buchholz, Co-Lead of the Sprout Safety Alliance, and Consumer Safety Officer with Division of Produce Safety at CFSAN/FDA, provided an overview of the finalized FDA Produce Safety Rule, specifying on requirements for spout growers. Please click the link below for the presentation:

SSA-FDA Webinar -2015

The Sprout Safety Alliance (SSA) hosted a FDA webinar “Implementing the Produce Rule” on May 22, 2015. Following a brief presentation about the SSA overview and progress, Ms. Fazila Shakier, Co-Lead of Phase Two FSMA Produce Implementation Workgroup, Division of Produce Safety in CFSAN/FDA, provided an overview of FDA's current thinking on the operational strategy for implementation of the Produce Safety Rule, “Implementing the Produce Rule”. Please click the links below for the webinar materials:

FDA honors SSA with Award!

Participants in the SSA were recognized at the 53rd Annual FDA Honor Awards Ceremony with the Group Recognition Award. This award recognizes “superior achievement of the Agency’s mission through teamwork, partnership, shared responsibility, or fostering collaboration and coalition to achieve FDA goals.” The development of the training programs and curriculum is a truly collaborative effort between the sprout industry, academia and federal, state and local government representatives, and the SSA team is honored to be recognized for their hard work.

List of Accomplishments

2012

  • Official announcement of the formation of the SSA
  • Organizing and Steering Committees formed
  • A Sharefile system was established for the Alliance to enable the sharing of content between participants.
  • Joy Johanson discussed the SSA in a presentation at the Capital Area Food Protection Association in Washington, DC on May 17.
  • A Steering Committee meeting was held in Rosemont, IL on May 30 and 31, where attendees discussed the approach to curriculum development and training, and the Technical and Education & Outreach Working Groups were formed.
  • The SSA website was launched, and populated with resources, Alliance information, and contact details for interested stakeholders.
  • Technical Working Group biweekly conference calls initiated, with participants including sprout growers, seed suppliers, retail representatives, academia, federal and state government representatives, auditing specialists, consultants and testing companies, from U.S.A., Canada and Mexico. Purpose of the conference calls is to discuss and develop initial training material, organized into ‘chapters’ of content.
  • Members of the SSA presented initial content to attendees at the International Sprout Grower’s Association (ISGA) Annual Meeting in Vancouver, Canada, on August 24, in order to discuss with sprout growers the purpose and objectives of the Alliance and to obtain initial feedback on the chapter contents.
  • The Education and Outreach Working Group began conducting conference calls to discuss the dissemination of information developed by the Technical Working Group.

2013

  • The Final Rule under FSMA for Produce: Standards for the Growing, Harvesting, Packing, and Holding of Produce for Human Consumption was released on January 4 for public comment. Specific requirements for sprout production will be covered under this Final Rule.
  • A pilot training session was held on February 14 at the Institute for Food Safety and Health in Bedford Park, IL. Content developed by the Technical Working Group was presented and discussed with 15 attendees, including representatives from small and very small sprout growers from the Chicagoland area, as well as officials from the Illinois Department of Public Health.
  • The SSA, in conjunction with the Institute for Food Safety and Health, conducted a webinar for more than 30 industry and government registrants on March 20. Produce Safety Staff from FDA-CFSAN and participants from the SSA discussed the Final Rule for produce safety, and the webinar concluded with a question and answer session.
  • Stephen Grove presented recent developments and accomplishments of the SSA to attendees of the ISGA Annual Meeting in Honolulu, Hawaii, on May 15. The FDA’s proposed requirements for sprout production were also discussed, and the feedback provided from attendees was valuable to the SSA in helping to shape the curriculum development.
  • A pilot training session was held on October 24 in Greenbelt, MD. Almost 40 attendees participated in the session to see updated training content developed by the Technical Working Group and to hear from the FDA about the Final Rule for produce safety. Participants from the sprout industry, state and federal government agencies discussed current industry practices and needs for the training content, providing the SSA with valuable feedback.

2014

  • SSA Steering Committee meeting was held to review the progress made and discuss the timeline for future activities. The technical working group reported that nine of the thirteen chapters have been completed. The education/outreach working group has been in contact with the Produce Safety Alliance (PSA) to familiarize with PSA’s approaches in engaging farmers and in developing the framework for delivery of trainings.
  • SSA Co-Lead Robin Kalinowski provided an overview of the history, mission, current progress and future plans of the Alliance at the United Fresh 2014 in Chicago, IL.
  • SSA Co-Lead Dr. Kaiping Deng provided an update of SSA to members of the Vegetables & Fruits Professional Development Group at the 2014 International Association for Food Protection annual meeting in Indianapolis, IN.
  • A pilot training/feedback session was held in Richmond, CA by the SSA in collaboration with the California Department of Public Health and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. More than 30 individuals representing sprout growers, testing service labs and California state inspectors participated in the session.
  • SSA and the Food Safety Preventive Controls Alliance (FSPCA), in collaboration with the Food and Drug Association (FDA), hosted a webinar to update stakeholders on the progress of the Alliances. Special guest, Roberta Wagner, Deputy Director for Regulatory Affairs at FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN), provided an overview presentation on FDA's FSMA Implementation Operational Strategy, "FSMA: Where We've Been, And Where We Are Going".

2015

  • SSA Technical Working Group started to review the entire curriculum I January, 2015.
  • SSA hosted a FDA webinar “Implementing the Produce Rule” on May 22, 2015. Following a brief presentation about the SSA overview and progress, Ms. Fazila Shakier, Co-Lead of Phase Two FSMA Produce Implementation Workgroup, Division of Produce Safety in CFSAN/FDA, provided an overview of FDA's current thinking on the operational strategy for implementation of the Produce Safety Rule, “Implementing the Produce Rule”.
  • SSA conducted a survey on training format and strategies among sprout growers around the country.  Kaiping Deng presented the survey results at the United Fresh 2015 in Chicago, IL.
  • Kaiping Deng provided an update of SSA to members of the Vegetables & Fruits Professional Development Group at the 2015 International Association for Food Protection annual meeting in Portland, OR.
  • The FDA Produce Safety Rule- Standards for the Growing, Harvesting, Packing, and Holding of Produce for Human Consumption was published on November 27, 2015.
  • A focus group meeting of local sprout growers was held in Chicago, IL on December 2, 2015. Thirteen individuals representing sprout growers, federal/state inspectors participated in the session. The attendees provided feedbacks on the training modules taught at the meeting.

2016

  • The SSA hosted a FDA webinar “Final Rule for Produce Safety: Key Provisions in the Rule” on January 14, 2016. Dr. Annemarie Buchholz, Co-Lead of the Sprout Safety Alliance, and Consumer Safety Officer with Division of Produce Safety at CFSAN/FDA, provided an overview of the finalized FDA Produce Safety Rule, specifying on requirements for spout growers.
  • SSA Slide Review meeting was held in Chicago, IL.  Experienced produce grower trainers and sprout growers provided constructive comments on SSA training slides format and training strategies.
  • SSA hosted a webinar “Upcoming SSA Training” to the SSA Education/Outreach Working Group and potential SSA trainers on 7/15/2016.  Kaiping Deng presented a SSA curriculum overview, trainer qualifications, trainer development process and training timeline.  Michelle Smith from FDA gave an overview on the regulatory inspection training that is being developed by FDA. 
  • SSA curriculum was finalized in August 2016.
  • SSA Train-the-Trainer Pilot session was conducted in Chicago, IL on 8/30-9/1/2016.  Six SSA Lead Instructor candidates successfully completed in this course.  They also provided feedbacks on the curriculum, training method, depth of the course delivery, and admin service.
  • SSA curriculum was revised to version 1.1 based of the feedback from the TTT Pilot session. 
  • A Sprouter Training & TTT Combo Course was held at IFSH on November 16-18, 2016. Nine (9) SSA Lead Instructor candidates,  ten (10) sprout growers and eight (8) federal/state inspectors successfully completed this course.  They also provided feedbacks on the curriculum, training method, depth of the course delivery, and admin service. 
  • Another Sprouter Training Course was taught by SSA Lead Instructor Trevor Suslow and Kaiping at UC Davis in CA on November 29 to December 1, 2016.  Eight (8) sprout growers attended the course.

2017

  • A SSA Train-The-Trainer (TTT) course was conducted in Richmond CA on January 10-12, 2017. Eleven (11) SSA LI candidates attended the course, including eight (8) domestic and three (3) international candidates.
  • Up to January 20, 2017, thirty (30) SSA LI candidates have successfully completed a SSA LI Course and twenty five (25) have been approved as SSA LIs.  Twenty two (22) sprout growers and ten (10) federal/state inspectors have successfully completed a SSA Sprouter Training Course.