Sprout Safety Alliance
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The Sprout Safety Alliance (SSA), a public-private alliance, develops a core curriculum, training and outreach programs for stakeholders in the sprout production community to enhance the industry's understanding and implementation of the requirements in the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule, and best practices for improving sprout safety.
SSA Virtual TrainingDuring the COVID-19 pandemic, SSA launched the virtual Part 2 course of the Sprout Grower Blended Training in June 2020. It is being offered as a two 4 hour-session virtual instructor-led course. During the Part 2 course, instructors will review the material from the Part 1, focusing on five key modules. More details about the SSA Blended course can be found on the SSA Training webpage.
SSA Sprout Grower 2-Day Training in SpanishThe SSA Sprout Grower 2-day Training in Spanish was conducted on January 8-9, 2019 in San Fernando CA. The next Spanish course will be scheduled upon request.
Launch of the SSA Sprout Grower Training Blended CourseOn December 14, 2017, SSA launched the SSA Sprout Grower Training Blended Course. This course was developed to provide an alternative way for individuals to complete the SSA Sprout Grower Training course. It consists of two parts. Part 1 is online and Part 2 is a one-day instructor-led course. For upcoming SSA trainings, please click here.
SSA Training Curriculum Second Edition Available for Free DownloadSafer Sprout Production for Produce Safety Rule ComplianceThis training manual is also available for purchase from the FSPCA Bookstore website.
SSA Technical Assistance Network (TAN)SSA TAN was created for individuals to submit a sprout safety related technical question to the SSA Food Safety Experts.
News on FDA Rules and Guidance
- On September, 2023, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released two guidance documents that outline recommendations for how sprout operations may comply with the Produce Safety Rule. The first is a guidance (2023 Final Guidance) that updates and finalizes the following sections of the January 2017 Draft Guidance entitled “Compliance with and Recommendations for Implementation of the Standards for the Growing, Harvesting, Packing, and Holding of Produce for Human Consumption for Sprout Operations”: Cleaning and Sanitizing, Agricultural Water in Sprout Operations, Seeds for Sprouting, Environmental Monitoring, and Recordkeeping. The second guidance (2023 Draft Guidance) re-issues certain sections of the January 2017 Draft Guidance and issues one new section for sprout operations as revised draft guidance. The following updated and new sections in the revised draft guidance are now available for comment: Equipment, Tools, and Buildings, Sampling and Testing of Spent Sprout Irrigation Water (or In-Process Sprouts), Personnel Qualifications, Training, and Hygienic Practices.
- On November, 2022, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a final rule on food traceability designed to facilitate faster identification and rapid removal of potentially contaminated food from the market, resulting in fewer foodborne illnesses and/or deaths. The final rule aligns with current industry best practices and covers domestic firms, retail food establishments, restaurants, and farms, as well as foreign firms and farms producing food for U.S. consumption. The Food Traceability Final Rule is a key component of the FDA’s New Era of Smarter Food Safety Blueprint and implements Section 204(d) of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).
- On May, 2022, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a final guidance titled “Reducing Microbial Food Safety Hazards in the Production of Seed for Sprouting: Guidance for Industry.” This guidance outlines FDA’s serious concerns over foodborne illness outbreaks associated with the consumption of raw and lightly-cooked sprouts and provides firms with recommended steps to prevent adulteration throughout the production chain of seed for sprouting.
- During the COVID-19 pandemic, to assist the food industry as it navigates changes to operations related to COVID-19, the FDA has teamed up with OSHA to develop the “Employee Health and Food Safety Checklist for Human and Animal Food Operations During the COVID-19 Pandemic.”
- On April 10, 2020, the FDA issued information and best practices for retail food stores, restaurants, and pick-up/delivery services during the pandemic to protect workers and customers.
- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published in the Federal Register a proposed rule to establish a laboratory accreditation program for food testing as required by the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act. This proposed rule outlines the procedures and standards that accreditation bodies and laboratories would need to follow to participate in the program, as well as procedures for how FDA would manage and oversee the program. The proposed rule would help ensure that certain food testing of importance to public health produces reliable and valid test results, and, in turn, improve FDA’s capability to protect U.S. consumers from unsafe food. (Link: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2019/11/04/2019-23870/laboratory-accreditation-for-analyses-of-foods)
- The FDA issued draft guidance to provide recommendations to those in the sprout seed industry to help reduce food safety hazards in the production of seed used for sprouting. This guidance, titled "Reducing Microbial Food Safety Hazards in the Production of Seed for Sprouting," is intended to provide food safety recommendations for those that grow, condition, pack, hold or distribute seed for sprouting.
- EPA has granted conditional approval for the use of Clorox (Active Ingredient: Sodium Hypochlorite, 6%) to treat alfalfa seed for E. coli O157:H7 and Salmonella (EPA Registration 5813-111 and EPA Registration 5813-114).
- FDA has determined that specific methods are “scientifically valid” and “at least equivalent to the method of analysis in § 112.151(a) in accuracy, precision, and sensitivity” in detecting or quantifying generic Escherichia coli in agricultural water, Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Salmonella in spent sprout irrigation water or sprout samples.
- Having questions on the FDA Produce Safety Rule? Please visit the FDA FSMA Technical Assistance Network (TAN) webpage and submit your inquiry through this link: https://cfsan.secure.force.com/Inquirypage/
SSA Training Accomplishments
For more details about SSA Accomplishments, please click here.