Today the FDA announced the formation of the Sprout Safety Alliance, in partnership with the Illinois Institute of Technology’s Institute for Food Safety and Health. The goal–the identification and implementation of best practices for sprout production–is a laudable one given the product’s history over the last year. See Jimmy Johns E. coli O26 Outbreak, which has sickened 14, and possibly 19, in 6 states, and Egyptian Fenugreek Sprout E. coli Outbreak, from this summer, which killed 53 in Europe.
The Sprout Safety Alliance is composed of members from the FDA, local and state food protection agencies, the food industry, and academia. It is funded by a one-year, $100,000 grant to the Illinois Institute of Technology’s Institute for Food Safety and Health. In conjunction with the $10,000 donated by Marler Clark last year after sprouts sickened 94 people at the end of 2010, the Institute now has $110,000 to work with on sprout safety. (Our donation was actually to the International Sprout Growers Assocation, and the Growers Association donated it to the Institute for Food Safety and Health).
Incidentally, still no publicly disclosed sprout seed recall in the Jimmy Johns sprouts E. coli outbreak.