The sprout industry is relatively small and in the past, has had very little voice. Some scary sprouts stories are still perpetuated over the Internet from over 30 years ago. But now, we have organizations such as Sprout Safety Alliance (SSA), Institute for Food Safety and Health (IFSH), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), International Sprout Growers Association (ISGA), Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule, and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which are all available to provide information about proper protocols for growing sprouts safely. Unfortunately, there are still farms NOT following FDA guidelines and the Produce Safety Compliance Rule for the sprout industry.
The protocols that we implement at Sunny Creek Farm make commercially grown sprouts perhaps the safest produce on the shelf. Also, the sprout industry now uses the same Hazardous Analysis of Critical Control Points (HACCP) process, developed by NASA scientists, to guarantee food safety for astronauts. This HACCP process has made it possible for the industry to overcome food safety issues. For Sunny Creek Farm, steps include: Sanitizing seeds before planting, lab testing each growing drum individually, and all product is held to ensure negative results before shipping.
We follow a five-point cleaning process before and after any product is handled. In brief, at Sunny Creek, we test the effluent water from every including the H7, which is implicated in food-borne illnesses). In addition, we swab test environmental surfaces for these same pathogens. The FDA previously recommended 10 samples a month. At Sunny Creek, we go beyond the recommendations taking 80 sample sites a month. In addition, we follow stringent statistical sampling techniques ensuring a varying of sites by area, time of day, days of the week, and food safety zones.
The equipment in our testing arsenal is advanced, cutting-edge technology. Our laboratory employs the 3M Brand Molecular Detection System, a device that utilizes the loop-mediated isothermal amplification method (LAMP). LAMP is recognized throughout the scientific industry as a highly robust and specific deoxyribonucleic acid amplification technique that outshines Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) in many critical arenas.
Additionally, we purchase our seeds from a company that treats the seeds with extended heat and controlled atmospheric changes. This achieves a 1.6 to a 6-log reduction in total bacteria counts. The log reduction varies according to the seed variety.
Sunny Creek Farm has never been associated with an outbreak or a recall. As a point of interest, a woman came to our farm and told me that she and her husband had become sick with Salmonella (spp.) after eating alfalfa sprouts, which they grew at home.
We like to draw people’s attention to the fact that in 2015 and 2016 the FDA came to film at Sunny Creek’s production facility to create a training film for new inspectors. This film illustrates how a sprout farm should look and function. Our protocols and attention have positioned us as a model for the industry.
We hope you are confident in the cleanliness and quality of our whole line of Sunny Creek products!