Food Safety Practices Guidance for Sprout Manufacturers
Hazard Summary for Sprouts Grown in Water

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The following table summarizes potential hazards associated with sprout production and suggests possible control measures. The manufacturer is responsible for identifying hazards specific to the operation and determining how each hazard can be controlled. For additional information, refer to the specific sections of this document listed in the Reference column.

Process Step Potential Hazards Control Measures Reference
Incoming Materials/ Receiving Pathogenic bacteria in seeds (e.g. Salmonella and E. coli O157:H7). Obtain a guarantee from the suppliers that the seeds meet the manufacturer's purchase specifications (e.g. the supplier provides a Letter of Guarantee).

Check incoming seeds against predetermined screening criteria when received (e.g. Good Agricultural Practices [GAP], Certificate of Analysis).

At receiving, inspect condition of seeds and confirm purchase specifications are met. Do not use seeds that do not meet specifications.

Test incoming seeds.
1.4
Incoming Materials/ Receiving Pesticide residues in seeds Obtain a guarantee from the suppliers that the seeds meet the establishment's purchase specifications (e.g., the supplier provides a Letter of Guarantee).

Check incoming seeds against predetermined screening criteria when received (e.g., Good Agricultural Practices [GAP], Certificate of Analysis).

At receiving, inspect condition of all incoming seeds and confirm purchase specifications are met. Do not use materials that do not meet specifications.

Test incoming seeds.
1.4
Incoming Materials/Receiving Allergen contamination in seeds (e.g. soy, wheat, sesame seeds). Obtain a guarantee from the suppliers that the seeds meet the establishment's purchase specifications (e.g., the supplier provides a Letter of Guarantee).

Check incoming seeds against predetermined screening criteria when received (e.g., Good Agricultural Practices [GAP], Certificate of Analysis).

At receiving, inspect condition of all incoming seeds and confirm purchase specifications are met. Do not use materials that do not meet specifications.

Test incoming seeds.
1.4
Incoming Materials/Receiving Foreign materials (e.g. extraneous materials (e.g. stones, glass, metal fragments). Obtain a guarantee from the suppliers that the seeds, packaging materials and chemicals meet the establishment's purchase specifications (e.g., the supplier provides a Letter of Guarantee).

Check incoming materials against predetermined screening criteria when received (e.g., Good Agricultural Practices [GAP], Certificate of Analysis).

At receiving, inspect condition of all incoming materials and confirm purchase specifications are met. Do not use materials that do not meet specifications.

Test incoming seeds.
1.4
Storage of Incoming Material Growth of pathogenic microorganisms and mould. Keep storage area dry to reduce the risk of mould and bacterial growth. 6.2
Storage of Incoming Material Contamination due to improperly stored chemicals (e.g. cleaning product, fertilizers). Store chemicals in a separate location from seeds and packaging material. 6.2
Storage of Incoming Material Cross-contamination by allergens (e.g. soy, wheat, sesame seeds). Store allergens separately from all non-allergenic ingredients and materials. 6.2
Sorting and Weighing Not applicable. Not applicable. 1.6.2
Initial Rinse Contamination by pathogenic microorganisms and/or chemicals in the water. Monitor and/or test water to ensure that it is acceptable (potable). Change water accordingly. 3.4
Initial Rinse Inadequate rinse fails to lower the bacterial count. Monitor and/or test that rinsing is done correctly.

Include an antimicrobial treatment step in the process.
1.8
Antimicrobial Treatment Contamination by pathogenic microorganisms and/or chemicals in the water. Monitor and/or test water to ensure that it is acceptable (potable).

Test spent irrigation water for pathogens 48 hours after initial seed soaking.

Use antimicrobial products at appropriate level and monitor or test.

Use only antimicrobial treatments that are approved for use on food.
3.4
1.11
1.8
Antimicrobial Treatment Inadequate reduction of pathogenic microorganisms due to inadequate antimicrobial treatment. Test spent irrigation water for pathogens 48 hours after initial seed soaking.

Use antimicrobial products at appropriate level and monitor or test.
1.11
1.8
Antimicrobial Treatment Chemical residue on final product from use of approved or unapproved antimicrobial treatment. Use antimicrobial products at appropriate level and monitor or test.

Use only antimicrobial treatments that are approved for use on food.
1.8
Rinse after Antimicrobial Treatment Contamination by pathogenic microorganisms and/or chemicals in the water. Monitor and/or test water to ensure that it is acceptable (potable). 3.4
Rinse after Antimicrobial Treatment Excessive antimicrobial residue on final product. Ensure that an effective rinsing procedure is in place and is monitored and/or tested. 1.8
Pre-germination Soak and Rinse Contamination by pathogenic microorganisms and/or chemicals in the water. Monitor and/or test water to ensure that it is acceptable (potable). 3.4
Pre-germination Soak and Rinse Growth of bacteria in standing water. Minimize soak time in standing water and/or add antimicrobial to water. 1.8
Germination Contamination by pathogenic microorganisms and/or chemicals in the irrigation water. Monitor and/or test water to ensure that it is acceptable (potable). 3.4
Germination Growth of bacteria due to warm room and water temperature. Test spent irrigation water for pathogens 48 hours after initial seed soaking. 1.11
Germination Potential chemical residue from inappropriate or excess chemical/fertilizer use. Use only chemicals that are approved for use on food. Use at appropriate level and monitor or test. 1.1
Harvesting High bacterial count on sprouts related to warm and wet germination conditions. Rinse and rapidly chill the sprouts after harvest. 1.8
Final Rinse and Cooling/ Dehulling Contamination by pathogenic microorganisms and/or chemicals in the water. Monitor and/or test water to ensure that it is acceptable (potable). 3.4
Final Rinse and Cooling/ Dehulling High bacterial count related to warm room and water conditions. Rinse harvested sprouts thoroughly with cold potable water and transfer to refrigerated storage as soon as possible. 1.8
Removal of Water/Draining Not applicable. Not applicable. 1.8
Bulk Cooling Growth of pathogenic microorganisms due to inadequate cooling. Ensure rapid cooling of bulk packed sprouts. 1.8
Packaging/ Labelling/ Coding Undeclared allergens in finished product. Adequate separation of allergens and non-allergens during processing steps, storage and packaging.

Monitor labels on product (e.g. labelling of potential allergenic ingredients, correct label applied to product, all information provided (e.g. list of ingredients) is complete, accurate and legible.
1.2
1.6
1.9
6.2
Packaging/ Labelling/ Coding Growth of pathogenic microorganisms related to improper label instructions on product storage and shelf life. Monitor labels on product (e.g. correct label applied to product, all information provided [e.g. shelf life/lot number]) is complete, accurate and legible. 1.2
1.9
Storage of Finished Product Growth of pathogenic microorganisms due to inadequate cooling. Control the temperature and storage practices in the sprout storage cooler to minimize the growth of pathogenic microorganisms. 6.2
Storage of Finished Product Bacterial or chemical cross-contamination from improperly stored items (e.g. other goods or food allergens stored with sprouts). Adequate separation of chemicals, seeds and finished products.

Adequate separation of allergens and non-allergen products during storage.
6.2
Shipping/ Distribution Contamination by pathogenic microorganisms, hazardous extraneous material and/or chemicals due to unsanitary carriers, improper distribution temperatures and/or damaged packaging. Monitor carriers before and during loading to ensure transportation conditions meet the establishment's requirements. 6.1
All Process Steps Contamination with pathogenic microorganisms, chemicals and extraneous material due to employee error as a result of a lack of training and/or a failure to understand the importance of following written standard operating procedures (SOPs) and/or Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs). Provide employees with training in standard operating procedures (SOPs) and/or Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs) appropriate to their position and the work being done.

Provide employee training in proper hygiene and correct handling procedures.
5.1
5.2
All Process Steps Contamination by pathogenic microorganisms, chemicals and/or extraneous material due to unsanitary handling practices. Monitor employee practices. 5.2
All Process Steps Contamination by pathogenic microorganisms, extraneous material (e.g. screws from equipment) and/or chemicals (including lubricants) due to improper equipment design installation and maintenance. Use equipment that has been properly designed and installed for use in a food establishment. Maintain equipment appropriately to ensure that it is functioning effectively. Ensure food contact surfaces are food grade and equipment is designed and positioned to prevent the contamination of product. 2.1
All Process Steps Contamination by pathogenic microorganisms and/or chemicals due to improper cleaning and sanitizing of equipment and facilities. Monitor procedures and verify the effectiveness of the sanitation program. 4.1
All Process Steps Contamination by pathogenic microorganisms carried in the air or the result of condensation. Control and monitor airflow and the ventilation system to minimize the risk of product contamination. 3.2
All Process Steps Cross-contamination by pathogenic microorganisms due to improper plant layout (e.g. inadequate separation of operations). Separate non-compatible operations through building and process design. 3.2
All Process Steps Cross–contamination by pathogenic microorganisms due to improper movement of employees or visitors between process steps. Control employee and visitor movement within the plant. 5.1
All Process Steps Contamination by pathogenic microorganisms due to the presence of rodents, birds or insects. Monitor the effectiveness of the pest control program. 4.2
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