Yesterday, on January 19, FDA announced draft guidance for the sprout industry on reducing the risk of listeria and other food-borne pathogens. The guidance is part of FDA’s roll-out of the 2015 Produce Safety Rule, which has a section devoted entirely to sprouts. Sprouts carry a high risk or contamination, and we have blogged about FDA enforcement actions on sprout risks in the past.
The sprout-specific sections of the Produce Safety Rule becomes effective sooner than the sections that apply to other commodities.
The draft guidance covers the entire process of bringing sprouts from the farm to the consumer. It covers:
- germination and growth;
- buildings, tools and equipment;
- sanitation procedures;
- procedures for agricultural water;
- seed stock;
- spent irrigation water;
- environmental monitoring; and
The draft guidance will be published on January 23, 2017. Comments are due 180 days thereafter.