Sprouts

Definition: Sprouts are the young shoots of plants such as alfalfa, radish, and soybean, usually eaten raw.

Harvest/Post Harvest: See FDA Guide to Minimize Microbial Food Safety Hazards for Sprouted Seeds.

Food Safety: There have been numerous reported outbreaks of foodborne illness associated with different types of raw and lightly cooked sprouts. Most of these outbreaks were caused by Salmonella and E. coli. In outbreaks associated with sprouts, the seed is typically the source of the bacteria. The seed coats often have wrinkles and creases so bacteria may stay attached and even be protected from rinsing with water or other treatments, such as acetic acid or bleach. No seed treatment is guaranteed to eliminate all harmful bacteria. The seed coverings may become unattached from the seed after germination but are often still entangled in the root systems of the sprouts. In 1999, the FDA provided the sprout industry with guidance on reducing the risk of contamination of sprouts by harmful bacteria. The FDA and other Federal and state agencies continue to work with industry on detecting and reducing contamination and keeping contaminated sprouts out of the marketplace.

Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs): GAPs may be utilized in the production from seed to sprout to reduce the potential of microbial contamination by harmful pathogens.

Distribution Method (Expand All | Collapse All)

You are selling your product at a farmers’ market, CSA, roadside stand, or other direct to consumer outlet


Licensing: If selling sprouts you have grown that are still in their growing medium (soil, vermiculite, or other medium), there are no specific licensing requirements since the sprouts are considered non-potentially hazardous. Whole uncut fresh vegetables are considered raw agricultural products and are exempt from licensing requirements of the Colorado Retail Food Protection Act. Samples of these products may be offered to consumers by vendors that are not licensed as retail food establishments and, therefore, those vendors are not required to comply with the provisions of the Colorado Retail Food Establishment Rules and Regulations. If a vendor is selling only uncut fruit and vegetables, the vendor is exempt from retail food establishment licensure even if offering samples.

If, however, the sprouts have been removed from their growing medium prior to sale, then they are considered potentially hazardous and in need of temperature control via refrigeration. At this point you must have an Retail Food Establishment License, issued by your county health department.

If you are selling sprouts that you have purchased directly from a Colorado grower or from a wholesaler, you will need a Farm Product Dealers License.

Labeling: No specific labeling requirements for sprouts in their original growing medium. Unpackaged, single ingredient foods like fruits and vegetables do not need labels. When sprouts are sold with the growing medium removed, they must be labeled. General labeling requirements.

Sales Tax Liability: General sales tax information.

Weights and Measures: If you are selling your product by weight, you must follow the weights regulations set forth by the Colorado Department of Agriculture. Refer to the fruits and vegetables section of weights and measures for guidelines on selling sprouts by a measure other than weight.

You are selling your product to a store, restaurant, food cart, university, or other retail food establishment


Licensing: If you are selling sprouts you have grown, no specific licensing requirement for selling whole raw agricultural products in the wholesale market, if the sprouts are still in their growing medium.  Once sprouts are removed from their growing medium, they are considered potentially hazardous and their production and sale will require you to register with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) as a wholesale food manufacturing facility. Once you have registered your food manufacturing business, you may be inspected by CDPHE.  You should first contact the Division of Environmental Health and Sustainability at (303) 692-3620 for further information and visit wholesale food program information and requirements.

If you are selling sprouts that you have purchased directly from a Colorado grower or from a wholesaler, you will need a Farm Product Dealers License.

Labeling: The state does not require specific labels, however your buyer might have specific requirements. Check with your buyer for product identification and traceability requirements.

Sales Tax Liability: General sales tax information.

Weights and Measures: If you are selling your product by weight, you must follow the Colorado weights and measures requirements. Sprouts might also be sold by volume, refer to the fruits and vegetables section of weights and measures for guidelines.

You are selling your product to K-12 schools, hospital, nursing home, or preschool

Licensing: Raw seed sprouts may not be served or offered for sale in a ready-to-eat form to persons in a highly susceptible population. A Highly Susceptible Population is people who are more likely than the general population to experience foodborne disease because they may have a compromised immune system. This includes: preschool age children, or older adults who eat at a facility that provides services such as custodial care, health care, or assisted living, such as a child or adult day care center, kidney dialysis center, hospital or nursing home, or nutritional or socialization services such as a senior center.


Labeling:
The state does not require specific labels, however your buyer might have specific requirements. Check with your buyer for product identification and traceability requirements.

Sales Tax Liability: General sales tax information.

Weights and Measures: If you are selling your product by weight, you must follow the Colorado weights and measures requirements. Sprouts might also be sold by volume, refer to the fruits and vegetables section of weights and measures for guidelines.

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