FDA announces the availability of a draft guidance for industry entitled “Reducing Microbial Food Safety Hazards in the Production of Seed for Sprouting.” 

When finalized, this draft guidance will make the sprout seed industry (seed growers, conditioners, packers, holders, suppliers and distributors) aware of the agency’s serious concern with the continuing outbreaks of foodborne illness associated with the consumption of raw and lightly cooked sprouts and provide their recommendations to firms throughout the production chain of seed for sprouting. 

Over the past 22 years, the FDA has investigated 50 reported outbreaks of foodborne illness associated with contaminated sprouts. Together, these outbreaks resulted in more than an estimated 2,600 cases of illness, the agency says.

Studies indicate that contaminated seed is the likely source of most sprout-related outbreaks. Electronic access to the draft guidance can be found at www.fda.gov/foodguidances or www.regulations.gov.