University of California

Sprout Safety Alliance Sprout Grower Training Course

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The Sprout Safety Alliance grower training course is the “standardized curriculum” recognized by FDA to help sprouters in understanding and implementing the Produce Safety Rule, specifically the requirements applicable to sprout operations. Completing this course is one way to meet the requirements for training under the Rule. 


No longer limited to guidance and voluntary programs, the first interval for compliance with these new regulations is January 2017, for the largest commercial sprout producers, and FDA has projected facility inspections for larger sprout houses to begin in mid-2017.

To assist the sprout industry and its affiliated service industries and stakeholders, the Sprout Safety Alliance has recently launched its FDA-recognized curriculum and training course. These modules were created within a collaborative effort between the sprout industry, academia and federal, state and local government representatives of the Sprout Safety Alliance. In addition to satisfying the FSMA requirement that at least one responsible individual for each operation (employee or consultant) receiving training within a recognized curriculum, the SSA sessions will enhance the sprout industry's understanding and implementation of best practices for improving sprout safety and understanding the specific requirements outlined in the FDA Standards for the growing, harvesting, packing, and holding of produce for human consumption specifically applicable to sprout operations. These mandatory provisions include validated antimicrobial seed treatment, pathogen testing of spent irrigation water or sprouts, environmental testing for Listeria, record-keeping, and more. Successfully completing this course will be helpful in understanding and implementing the Produce Safety Rule requirements and best practices for enhancing sprout safety.

Topics included

Module 1: Sprout Safety Hazards

  • Food safety hazards associated with sprouts
  • Importance of controlling these hazards

Module 2: Sprout Production Environment

  • Key considerations in building construction and design to provide a hygienic environment for sprout production
  • Measures that should be put in place to prevent cross contamination that may occur as a result of improper facility construction, contaminated air, water, and contaminated workers
  • Measures that should be In place to prevent adulteration of sprouts due to the presence of insects, pest, or animals
  • Key steps to ensure safe supply of water, soil (for certain sprout types) in sprout production
  • Proper preventive maintenance for facility and equipment

Module 3: Employee Health and Hygiene Practices in Safe Sprout Production

  • The purpose of good employee health and hygiene practices
  • Management responsibilities and interventions regarding employee health and hygiene
  • Specific employee health and hygiene practices to prevent sprout contamination

Module 4: Cleaning and Sanitizing of Buildings and Equipment

  • The importance of cleaning and sanitizing
  • The difference between cleaning and sanitizing
  • Proper cleaning and sanitizing procedures
  • The importance of preventing biofilm formation 

Module 5: Environmental Monitoring: Sanitation Verification

  • The purpose of environmental monitoring to verify cleaning and sanitizing
  • Methods and equipment needed for an ATP environmental monitoring system
  • How to set up a sampling plan
  • How to determine appropriate corrective actions
  • Model Standard Operating Procedures to conduct environmental sampling

Module 6: Environmental Monitoring: Listeria Control

  • The value of environmental monitoring for Listeria in a sprout operation
  • Key components of an environmental monitoring plan
  • Designation of environmental sampling zones
  • When to sample
  • Methods and equipment needed for sampling
  • How to find and work with a reputable testing laboratory
  • The importance of responding to positive findings
  • How to interpret results and determine subsequent corrective actions
  • Maintaining records for your environmental monitoring program

Module 7: Seed Purchasing, Receiving and Storage

  • The food safety considerations to take into account when purchasing seeds
  • The importance of examine seeds upon their arrival to your sprout firm
  • The proper seed storage conditions

Module 8: Seed Treatment

  • The importance of disinfecting the seeds prior to sprouting
  • FDA guidance and Produce Safety Rule requirements for seed treatment
  • Seed treatment method should be scientifically valid to reduce microorganisms of public health significance

Module 9: Spent Irrigation Water and Sprout Testing

  • The importance of sampling and microbial testing spent irrigation water
  • How to prepare for sampling
  • When, what and how to sample
  • How to choose a testing lab
  • How to interpret results and determine subsequent corrective actions Critical Concepts:

Module 10: Additional Control Programs

  • Management responsibility
  • Employee training
  • Supplier approval and verification program

Module 11: Recordkeeping Procedures

  • Importance of recordkeeping
  • Procedure for completing, reviewing, and storing records

Module 12: Standards for the Growing, Harvesting, Packing, and Holding of Produce for Human Consumption

  • Develop a better understanding of the produce safety rule


Enrollment Information 

Date and Times
Tuesday, May 23, 2017 from 9:00am – 5:00pm, and
Wednesday May 24, 2017 from 8:00am – 4:00pm 
A preliminary agenda can be found here

This 2-day course will be held at the South Coast Research and Extension Center at 7601 Irvine Blvd in Irvine, CA.

Click here to see a list of nearby hotel accommodations. 
Enrollment Fee

$375 per person and includes the SSA course fee, materials and certificate of completion. Registration will open in April. 

If your plans change

Refunds, less a $40 processing fee, will be granted if requested at least seven calendar days before the course begins. At that time, you may also discuss sending a substitute. We reserve the right to discontinue, postpone, or combine classes, and to change instructors. Every effort will be made to notify enrollees of any changes or cancellations.




Dr Trevor V Suslow 

Suslow, Trevor

Trevor Suslow is the extension research specialist at the University of California, Davis, Department of Plant Sciences, with statewide responsibilities in quality and safety of perishable horticultural commodities. Dr. Suslow’s program involves preharvest and postharvest research and outreach education on diverse fresh and fresh-cut horticultural foods. His emphasis is microbial safety and disinfection within the pre-harvest and postharvest environment and postharvest pathology. Other interests include biological control and other biologically mediated controls of postharvest diseases and pathogens of human food safety concern. Dr. Suslow received his BSc. In Agricultural Sciences with honors and his Ph.D. in Plant Pathology from the University of California, Berkeley..

For More Information on Technical Content Please Contact

Dr Trevor V Suslow
Title: Extension Research Specialist
Department of Plant Sciences
Mann Laboratory Mail Stop 3
Davis, CA 95616-8780
Phone: (530) 754-8313
Fax: 530-752-4554

For More Registration Information Please Contact

Heidi Meier
Title: Program Representative
Phone: 530-752-1410

College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences
Postharvest Technology Center
Department of Plant Sciences

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