FAQ

What is the Sprout Safety Alliance (SSA)?

The Sprout Safety Alliance is a public-private partnership of key stakeholders from the food industry, academia and government designed to enhance the industry's understanding and implementation of best practices for improving sprout safety, and requirements for sprout producers in the finalized rule on standards for produce safety required by the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). 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 in 2012 to develop 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 to IIT IFSH, a nationally-recognized leader in food safety, food defense and nutrition science and research.

What is the mission of the SSA?

To develop and deliver educational programs that enhance the industry's understanding and implementation of best practices for improving sprout safety, and requirements applicable to sprout producers in the finalized rule on standards for produce safety, required by the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).

How will the SSA meet its mission?

The Alliance will develop and deliver a training curriculum and facilitate its use by stakeholders in the sprout industry. Modules will also include train-the-trainer instruction.

What are the objectives of the SSA?

  • Develop training materials that reflect best practices for the safe production of sprouts based on available FDA guidance documents
  • Provide tools to assist growers in conducting self-audits of their sprouting facilities and production practices to minimize microbial hazards associated with sprouts
  • Develop training materials that facilitate industry understanding and implementation of the sprout-related requirements in the Final Rule on Standards for Produce Safety
  • 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.

What is the structure of SSA?

The governing organizational components of SSA include the SSA Coordinator, Organizing Team, Steering Committee and two Working Groups formed to conduct specific training development and dissemination tasks. The Alliance Coordinator is Kaiping Deng, PhD, IFSH Senior Scientist. The SSA Steering Committee consists of representatives from IIT IFSH, federal and state regulatory agencies, academic institutions, and trade associations.