(Bedford Park, IL) Sept. 23, 2011 - The Institute for Food Safety and Health (IFSH) at Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) will unveil a unique audit checklist designed to improve sprout safety and present a first look at on-site beta test results validating its effectiveness in a real-world setting at the International Sprout Grower's Association (ISGA) Annual Convention, October 17-21, 2011 in Las Vegas, NV.
The IFSH Sprout Safety Training Workshop will take place on Wednesday, October 19 at the convention's headquarters in the MGM Grand Hotel from 1:55 p.m. to 5:15 p.m.
The ground-breaking sprout safety checklist is the product of IFSH's Sprout Safety Task Force, which identifies critical research needs and develops food safety guidance required for the safe production of sprouts. IFSH member sprout growers and allied stakeholders in the task force include ISGA, Jonathan Sprouts, Caudill Seed, Brassica Protection Products, and IIT and U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) scientists.
The October workshop is the first in a series aimed at sharing information gathered by the IFSH Sprout Safety Task Force and introducing the newly beta-tested audit checklist. The document is designed to serve as a practical tool for sprout growers to use when reviewing their operation's food safety practices and as a guide when requesting a sprout-specific third party audit.
An independent review panel, comprised of representatives from FDA, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), universities, retail grocery operators, produce associations, and allied sprout industry service companies, recently gave a green light to the initial test run of the document in a working operation.
"The IFSH Sprout Safety Task Force is confident that this sprout safety audit checklist document will be beneficial to the sprout industry as it continues to develop strong science-based approaches to address the unique challenges of ensuring the safety of these products," said Armand Paradis, IFSH director, business development and co-chair of the Sprout Safety Task Force. "We look forward to receiving feedback from stakeholders at these workshops about the usefulness of the checklist to validate its suitability for broad adoption by the sprout industry."
In addition to an expert report by Wil Sumner of Sumner Analytical Services on the results of the recent field test of the audit checklist in a sprout production operation, the IFSH Sprout Safety Training Workshop will feature presentations by several scientific research, government and industry leaders, including:
- Overview of the IFSH Sprout Safety Task Force, Jason Wan, IFSH
- The Regulatory Perspective on Foodborne Illness Outbreaks Associated with Sprouts, Michelle Smith, FDA
- Sprout Audit Checklist Highlights, Barb Sanderson, Jonathan Sprouts
- Inspections and Outbreak Investigations: Lessons Learned, Patrick Kennelly, California Department of Public Health
- Industry Best Practices Panel Discussion, (Panelists): Paul Battaglia, Brassica; Kelly Warren, ISS; Barb Sanderson, Jonathan Sprouts; Jay Louie, Louie Foods International; and T.J. Fu, FDA
The IFSH Sprout Safety Training Workshop is free to all full conference attendees, and other interested parties can reserve space for a nominal fee of $25.00. Please visit the ISGA website for online registration details, or contactArmand Paradis, IFSH Director Business Development at 708.563.8175 for workshop program information.