For additional information on research into sprout safety, please see "Experts agree clean seeds key to safe sprouts."

Slow start for FDA’s Sprout Safety AllianceTwo months after the announcement of its 12-month, $100,000 federal grant, the Sprout Safety Alliance has not issued any statements about its work and has not launched its website, which officials initially said would be up and running in March.

A public-private partnership formed and funded by the Food and Drug Administration, the alliance is Slow start for FDA’s Sprout Safety Alliancebased at the Illinois Institute of Technology’s Institute for Food Safety and Health. Alliance coordinators are Stephen Grove, manager of industry projects for IFSH, and Joy Johanson, consumer safety director for the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Nutrition (CFSAN).

Johanson referred questions to FDA trade press liaison Sebastian Cianci.

Cianci said the alliance steering committee plans to meet in late May to “work on the development of materials.”

“We hope to launch the website in the coming months,” Cianci said. “Our goal is to use the website as a means of distributing information as it is developed.”

In addition to Johnason and Grove, members of the steering committee are:

  • TJ Fu, research scientist at CFSAN;
  • Jane Reick, food safety inspection unit chief, California Department of Public Health;
  • Kevin Dreesman, Illinois Department of Public Health;
  • Jim Topie, agriculture consultant for food inspection, Minnesota Department of Agriculture;
  • Claudia Coles, president-elect for the Association of Food and Drug Officials;
  • Robert Hoeft, director of extension and outreach, University of Illinois;
  • Don Schaffner, extension specialist, Rutgers University;
  • Bob Sanderson, president, International Sprout Growers Association; and
  • Johnna Hepner, director of food safety and technology, Produce Marketing Association.