The Institute for Food Safety and Health (IFSH) is a world-class food research center, which is part of the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT). It has a staff of 70 scientists, micro-biologists, chemists, virologists, and nutrition scientists who work with scientists from government, academia and the food industry in state-of-the-art facilities to study, among other things, the behavior of pathogens in real-world food processing conditions with the aim of developing fact based food safety technologies.
The cost of scientists and facilities is high. The $5,000 per year for ISGA to join IFSH is small compared to the results we are getting from the relationship. Research that comes out of the institute is already respected by government and industry, and is publicized through the retail and food service associations such as National Restaurant Assn, PMA, United Fresh, etc.
ISGA encourages all sprout growers to help ISGA pay its $5,000 annual dues to the IFSH. If 10 companies will each contribute 10% of the dues ($500), it will be terrific. If, by chance, more than the $5,000 is raised, the money will go to ISGA to support one of our research projects.
There are a number of research areas that ISGA members have expressed interest in:
#1. Clarification of the criteria for alternatives to 20,000 ppm chlorine for seed treatments, both with regard to validation of efficacy, and procedures for obtaining regulatory approval.
#2. A study of the Time-Temperature Control category for sprouts., and a concerted effort to remove the time-temperature requirement on sprouts, if appropriate, as indicated by initial research from Drs. Fu and Schaffner.
#3. A study of positive test results in spent irrigation water for Salmonella and E.coli O157:H7 to determine the historical extent of a single positive test in a batch of seeds as a sufficient “reason to believe” that the entire lot is contaminated, and a re-examination of the FSMA rule on this point.
These are three areas where the scientific evidence behind regulations and guidance recommendations should be reviewed and more clearly explained. Please contact the ISGA Office concerning any other areas where you feel research is needed.
Also, if your company can afford an individual membership in IFSH ($4000 annual fee), that will go an additional long way toward making sprout research projects a high priority at IFSH. There is also the option for individual companies to undertake research projects, taking advantage of IFSH resources and expertise.
The sprout industry is small. Therefore, our funds are not large. That is why we need your help. Please consider making a donation toward the IFSH membership fee. If you have any questions, contact the ISGA office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You may make your donation online or send a check to the ISGA Office noting that it is for IFSH Membership.
Thanks, on behalf of a stronger sprout industry.