Food Safety Practices Guidance for Sprout Manufacturers
Appendix D: Soil-Grown Sprouts

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CFIA's Food Safety Practices Guidance for Sprout Manufacturers document, although specifically focussed on sprouts that are grown in water, should also be useful for manufacturers of soil-grown sprouts who are interested in developing a HACCP Plan.

Manufacturers of soil-grown sprouts are encouraged to follow the Code of Practice for the Hygienic Production of Sprouted Seeds and all other available codes, including the guidance provided in the Code of Hygienic Practices for Fresh Fruits and Vegetables, Codex Alimentarius Commission CAC/RCP 53 -2003.

The following guidance, which comes from the Code of Hygienic Practices for Fresh Fruits and Vegetables, Codex Alimentarius Commission, is appropriate for soil-grown sprouts.

3.2 Primary production of fresh fruits and vegetables

3.2.1 Agricultural inputs

Any incoming materials used for the primary production of fresh fruits and vegetables, should not contain microbial or chemical contaminants at levels that may adversely affect the safety of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Subsection 3.2.1 [Agricultural inputs] includes: water for irrigation; harvesting; fertilizers; pest control and other agricultural chemicals; hydroponic water; manure, biosolids and other natural fertilizers; soil; agricultural chemicals; and, biological controls.

3.2.1.3 Soil

Soil should be evaluated for hazards. If the evaluation concludes that such hazards are at levels that may compromise the safety of crops, control measures should be implemented to reduce the hazards to acceptable levels. If hazard mitigation cannot be achieved by available control measures, growers should not use such soils for primary production.

3.2.2 Indoor facilities associated with growing and harvesting

For operations where fresh fruits and vegetables are grown indoors (greenhouses, hydroponic culture, etc.), suitable premises should be used.

3.2.2.1 Location, design and layout

Premises and structures should be located, designed and constructed to avoid contaminating fresh fruits and vegetables and the harbouring of pests such as insects, rodents and birds.

Where appropriate, the internal design and layout of premises and structures should permit compliance with good hygienic practices for the primary production of fresh fruits and vegetables indoors, including protection against cross-contamination between and during operations. Each establishment should be evaluated individually in order to identify specific hygienic requirements for each product.

Annex for Sprout Production

The Code of Hygienic Practices for Fresh Fruits and Vegetables contains an Annex that provides additional specific guidance for sprout production. With respect to soil-grown sprouts, Section 5 - Control of Operation (Subsection 5.2.2.6) states: "Where necessary and when used, soils or other matrices should be treated (e.g. pasteurized to achieve a high degree of microbial reduction.)".

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