FDA Announces Draft Guidance to Help Sprout Operations

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today issued for public comment a draft guidance to help sprout operations meet new standards designed to help keep sprouts free of contamination and safe for consumers to eat.

Sprout operations have new requirements under the Produce Safety Rule mandated by the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act. Sprouts present a unique risk because the conditions under which they are typically produced are also ideal for the growth of bacteria that cause foodborne illnesses. Between 1996 and July 2016 there were 46 reported outbreaks associated with sprouts in the United States, accounting for 2474 illnesses, 187 hospitalizations, and three deaths.

The draft guidance will be available for public comment for 180 days starting January 19, 2017. The FDA will consider all comments before completing a final version. Submit electronic comments to http://www.regulations.gov. Comments should be identified with the docket number listed in the notice of availability that publishes in the Federal Register.

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