Albertsons requirements for sprouting operations

Compliance with these FDA Guidelines is mandatory for sprouting operations wishing to do business with Albertsonís, Inc. Because of recent disease outbreaks and threatened regulatory action, we are taking the following steps to protect the safety of sprouts sold in Albertsons stores.

Sprouters must verify compliance by sending a letter to the Albertsons Produce Procurement Manager they deal with, verifying compliance with the following guidelines before purchase orders will be issued. The letter must be on file in the Procurement Managerís office at the Albertsons Distribution Center placing the order.

A report from an outside auditor verifying compliance must follow within 90 days of the letter, for business to continue. Approved outside auditors include but are not limited to: of Santa Maria, CA, American Institute of Baking of Manhattan KS, and Scientific Certification Systems of Oakland, CA.

Posting the information on a website such as the one operated by is also acceptable. Albertsonís, Inc. has a secure site with for such postings. has on-line help at no cost for companies desiring to prepare safe procedures manuals and conduct self-audits at They also offer posting services and third party audits for reasonable fees.

Sprouting requirements:

  1. Use of good agricultural practices (GAP). The FDA publication Guide to Minimize Microbial Food Safety Hazards for Fresh Fruits and Vegetables is available at
    • Seed Conditioning, Storage and Transportation of seeds should be done in a manner that minimizes the likelihood that the seeds will be contaminated with pathogens
    • Sprout production should be in facilities that will protect against contamination.
  1. Seed disinfection treatment. Routine use of approved seed disinfection treatments (such as 20,000 parts per million of calcium hypochlorite in water) is likely to reduce the level of contamination if present in or on seeds.
  2. Microbial testing. Testing must be run by qualified personnel in a qualified independent laboratory that is separate from the food production areas. Microbial testing of spent irrigation water will be from each drum after 24 hours. The water will be tested for Salmonella, E coli and Listeria. Test results must be confirmed prior to shipment. If product is not grown in drums, sampling of the sprout trays must be done.
  3. Traceback. While traceback cannot prevent a foodborne illness outbreak from occurring sprout producers, seed producers, and distributors should develop and implement systems to facilitate traceback and recall in the event of a problem.

If there are questions regarding this policy, please call your Albertsons Produce Procurement Manger.

View Suppliers Letter