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Issue 11           

June/July 2012  


Sprout Safety Alliance Launches Website in June    

  SSA logo 

The Sprout Safety Alliance (SSA) announced the launch of its website at in June 2012. The Alliance web pages, hosted by Illinois Institute of Technology's Institute for Food Safety and Health (IIT IFSH), feature a range of hazard analysis and preventive controls resources and educational materials, committee rosters, progress reports, government and industry links, and more. Explore the site today and find out how you can join this important collaborative process!


The mission of this public-private alliance is to develop a core curriculum, training and outreach programs for stakeholders in the sprout production community to enhance the industry's understanding and implementation of best practices for promoting sprout safety as well as pending sprout safety regulatory requirements.


SSA is open to all stakeholders from the sprout industry, trade associations, regulatory agencies and academia. Visit the SSA website to sign up for future digital communications using the "Join Our Mailing List" button and to find out more about how you can participate in Alliance activities.  


Take Part in an SSA Working Group sprouts


The Sprout Safety Alliance invites stakeholders from the food industry, trade associations, regulatory agencies and academia to collaborate and participate in the creation of a national sprout safety training program. Two SSA Working Groups (WGs) are in the process of formation, the Technical Working Group, and the Outreach and Education Working Group.  


If you are interested in applying to one or more WGs, please visit the Working Groups page online for more information, or contact Stephen Grove, PhD, SSA co-coordinator via email with a letter of interest.


Food Safety Preventive Controls Alliance Working  Groups in Progress

FSPCA logo


The Food Safety Preventive Controls Alliance's (FSPCA) Coordinator PC Vasavada, PhD, reports that 148 volunteers from the food industry have joined the alliance as Working Group (WG) team members. Each of the five established working groups is led by a chair and vice chair. FSPCA Steering Committee members serve as liaisons to each Working Group and facilitate Working Group functions. WGs are meeting via conference calls and are using the Sharefile system to compile documents and drafts.
Claudia Coles

In team news, Claudia Coles, Administrator of the Office of Compliance and Outreach within the Food Safety and Consumer Services Division of the Washington State Department of Agriculture, has been appointed to serve as the Association of Food and Drug Officials (AFDO) representative on the FSPCA Executive and Steering committees. Coles was  announced as AFDO president in July.


Susan Bond, an independent consultant and president of GRACE Strategies, LLC, which specializes in providing expert advice and development of customstrategies in food and agricultural policy, regulatory issues, consumer and scientific affairs, has been

Susan Bond

appointed to help FSPCA with the task of developing the training manual draft. Bond will assist the editorial subcommittee in compiling, editing and formatting the content developed by the WGs.


FSPCA presented a Sunrise Session at the annual meeting of the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) in Las Vegas on June 26, 2012. Approximately 70 people attended and the session generated some interesting questions and discussion, said Vasavada. The FSPCA will also be a part of two symposia at the IAFP Annual Meeting in Providence, RI.

Be Sure to Attend IIT IFSH Presentations 

International Association for Food Protection (IAFP)
Annual Meeting | July 22-25, 2012 | Providence, RI      

   iafp providence 2012

IIT IFSH is proud to present several timely symposia on emerging issues in food safety and technology at IAFP's Annual Meeting, the food protection profession's premier event. We look forward to seeing you in Providence!


S7 Measuring and Managing Norovirus Cross-contamination Risks in the Food Service Environment

Mon., July 23, 2012: 10:30 AM-12:00 PM

Ballroom D (Rhode Island Convention Center)


Organizers: Stephen Grove and Katherine Swanson

Convenors: Alvin Lee and Katherine Swanson


Since 2008, researchers from the Institute for Food Safety and Health, Illinois Institute of Technology (formerly National Center for Food Safety and Technology), Rutgers University, and collaborators from FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition and Ecolab USA, have been collaborating to examine cross-contamination of NoV during common procedures used in preparation of fresh produce in a food service setting. The NoV transfer data, which has been collected using more than 120 volunteers, is being incorporated into a quantitative risk assessment to evaluate the risk reduction of worker behavior as a result of the research findings. The symposium will provide an opportunity for the project team to report their findings, discuss the potential for NoV transmission through a retail food service setting, as well as educational elements to change working behavior.

  • 10:30 AM Transfer of Noroviruses During Preparation of Fresh Produce, Carol Shieh, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, CFSAN / IIT IFSH
  • 11:00 AM Determining the Risk of Norovirus During Food Service Preparation of Fresh Produce, Donald Schaffner, Rutgers University
  • 11:30 AM Observing Behavior in the Kitchen and Educating Food Service Personnel, Miriam Eisenberg, EcoSure, a Division of Ecolab


S31 Harmonization of Methods to Evaluate and Validate Preventive Controls

Wed., July 25, 2012: 8:30 AM-10:00 AM

Room 555-556 (Rhode Island Convention Center)


Organizers: Alvin Lee , Purnendu Vasavada and Zhinong Yan

Convenors: Alvin Lee , Purnendu Vasavada and Zhinong Yan  


The 111th U.S. Congress passed S510 in 2010 known as FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), enacted Jan. 4, 2011. There are now new responsibilities for food manufacturers and food producers. One of these responsibilities is to identify hazard and develop preventive controls based on that hazard and verification process that the developed preventative control significantly minimizes or prevents those hazards. In this whole new world of process control or development of a process to address a specific hazard, new questions arises on what and when to do and how to get to a specific goal. This symposium aims to address questions that food manufacturers and food producers will face and how academia and researchers can interact to address questions and issues on validation of processes.

  • 8:30 AM: What is Validation and Verification of a Preventive Control? Larry Keener, International Product Safety Consultants
  • 9:00 AM: Criteria Used to Evaluate a Validated Process or Preventive Control, John Larkin, FDA CFSAN  
  • 9:30 AM: Harmonization of Methods for Validation and Verification, Russell Flowers, Silliker Group Corp.


S34 Sprout Safety: What We've Done, What We've Learned and How We Can Continue to Move Forward

Wed., July 25, 2012: 8:30 AM-10:00 AM

Room 552 (Rhode Island Convention Center)


Organizers: Tong-Jen Fu, Robert Sanderson and Michelle Smith

Convenor: Tong-Jen Fu  


Since 1996, contaminated sprouts have been linked to at least 30 outbreaks and over 2,000 cases of illness in the U.S. Globally, the concern about consumption of raw sprouts has increased significantly after the 2011 outbreaks associated with contaminated fenugreek sprouts which resulted in more than 4,000 illnesses and 50 deaths in Germany and France. This symposium will review the issues and challenges associated with sprout food safety from both an industry and a regulatory perspective. To ensure sprout safety, it is clear that collaboration among stakeholders across the "farm-to-table" continuum is critical. The symposium will also showcase a number of initiatives taken by the industry, government, and academia to help advance sprout food safety.

  • 8:30 AM Enhancing Sprout Food Safety through Partnership: It Takes a Village, Tong-Jen Fu, US FDA CFSAN
  • 8:40 AM The State of the Sprout Industry: A Food Safety Perspective, Robert Sanderson, Jonathan Sprouts Inc.
  • 9:00 AM Sprout Food Safety: A U.S. Regulatory Perspective, Michelle Smith, U.S. Food and Drug Administration
  • 9:20 AM Best Practices for Safer Production of Sprouts: A Grower's Perspective, Mansour Samadpour, LifeForce Foods  
  • 9:40 AM Best Practices for Safer Production of Sprouts: A Seed Supplier's Perspective, Bob Rust, International Specialty Supply 
In addition to these highlighted symposia, IIT IFSH researchers and students will present several poster sessions. Visit IAFP online for a full program, schedule of events, and more.



IIT IFSH Welcomes New Industry Members 

IIT IFSH welcomes three new corporate partners to  

its industry membership roster:Heinz logo


H.J. Heinz 


American Oil Chemists Society (AOCS)AOCS logo



   Episensors logo





Recent Grant Awards Announced   


Three grants were recently awarded to the following IIT IFSH and FDA CFSAN/IFSH researchers:


Stephen Grove, PhD, and Elizabeth Grasso, PhD, Best Practices for Cleaning and Sanitizing Nut Butter Processing Equipment: One-year, $159,737 grant from International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI) North America.


Alvin Lee, PhD, et al., Validation Strategies for Produce Wash: One-year $300,000 FDA Special Project grant.


Nathan Anderson, PhD, et al., Points of Safe Harbor for Extruded Low Moisture Foods Safety: One-year $278,000 FDA Special Project grant.


Congratulations to IFSH Student Award Winners
IFSH 2012 Student Award
IIT IFSH Director Bob Brackett presents the first place award to Hanshuai Zhang. 

The Third Annual Graduate Student Seminar Days garnered awards for three IIT IFSH master's degree

candidates for their student presentations on May 17. The panel of judges - Diana Stewart, Karthik Pillai, Kathir Krishnamurthy and Stephen Grove - ranked the presentations based on the following criteria: quality of scientific research, slides, and oral presentation. The awards were presented by Drs. Robert Brackett, Darsh Wasan and Richard McDonald to:

  • First place: Hanshuai Zhang, MS degree candidate, Food Safety and Technology
  • Second place: Jingxin Guo, MS degree candidate, Food Process Engineering
  • Third place: Wenjing Li, MS degree candidate, Food Safety and Technology

Press & Publications      


World Without Food Science: Food Safety (video link)


IIT VP and IFSH Director Robert Brackett, PhD, describes how food IFT World Without Science screen shot science keeps our food supply safe in this second in a series of Profiles in Innovation from the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT). The video debuted at the keynote session at IFT's Annual Meeting in Las Vegas on June 26. For details, please visit IFT's Profiles in Innovation series pages at


New Research Note Published in Journal of Food Protection 


FDA CFSAN and IIT IFSH researchers have published a research note JFP cover in Vol. 75, No. 6 of the Journal of Food Protection. The publication, "Effect of Growth on the Thermal Resistance and Survival of Salmonella Tennessee and Oranienburg in Peanut Butter, Measured by a New Thin-Layer Thermal Death Time Device," is authored by Susanne E. Keller, Elizabeth M. Grasso, Lindsay A. Halik, Gregory J. Fleischman, Stuart J. Chirtel, and Stephen F. Grove. Download a PDF here. 



Download the 2012-13 Food Processing Specialist Certificate Program Course Schedule  


An August 2012-April 2013 course schedule for IIT IFSH's Food Processing Specialist Certificate program is now available for download online on the IFSH website. Students must complete the application process by July 30. Application forms are available online in downloadable format.


Craig Hutson, who completed IIT IFSH's Food Processing Specialist Program courses in 2011-2012, is encouraging his colleagues in industry to enroll in the program.  


"The depth that is covered in these courses far surpasses other industry training classes and really provides fundamental understanding of important topics," Hutson says. "The courses on low acid and acidified food regulations, microbiology, thermal processing, and heat transfer were extremely helpful for me in my current role as a process development engineer for Pepsico R&D and I was able to immediately apply much of the learning.


For more information on IIT IFSH educational programs, please contact Renee McBrien, Manager, Education and Outreach, at 708.563.8287.
Illinois Institute of Technology's (IIT) Institute for Food Safety and Health (IFSH) is a one-of-a-kind applied food science research institute that provides stakeholders in government, industry and academia the opportunity to develop and exchange knowledge and expertise to address key issues in food safety, food defense and nutrition. Located at IIT's Moffett Campus in Bedford Park, IL, IFSH is also home to the FDA CFSAN Division of Food Processing Science and Technology. For more, visit