Seed World

USDA Announces Seeds for Sprouting Export Certification Program

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the launch of a new Seeds for Sprouting Export Certification Program, which provides European markets access to U.S. seeds used to produce sprouts for the first time since 2012. The program is an audit service administered by the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) to help U.S. producers and exporters demonstrate and document compliance with European Union (EU) regulations covering seeds used to produce sprouts. It is open to any U.S. seed distributor seeking to export seeds for sprouting to the EU.

The program verifies the exporter’s food safety management system complies with EU requirements, including all phases of production, handling, distribution, and marketing of U.S.-produced seeds for sprouting.

Under the program, USDA conducts audits of participating producers and exporters of seeds for sprouting to verify they are adhering to Good Agricultural Practices and EU hygiene requirements. For companies that demonstrate compliance with EU food safety regulation requirements, USDA will sign and issue an EU Health Certificate for loads destined for the EU.

AMS developed the Seeds for Sprouting Export Certification Program in collaboration with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Division of Produce Safety and International Affairs Staff. USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service and Animal Plant Health Inspection Service also contributed to the development of the program.