Friday 3rd August 2012, 14:44 London
New rules coming for sprouted seeds
The European Commission is set to table specific rules to ensure the safety of seeds and sprouted seed production
The European Commission is set to table specific rules to ensure the safety of seeds and sprouted seed production in a bid to avoid a repeat of the deadly E. Coli outbreak in sprouted seeds last summer.
The 2011 outbreak led to 50 deaths and 4,000 cases of illness as well as severe financial losses in the horticulture sector in the UK and across Europe.
There are four measures being considered: the approval of sprout producers in the EU; microbiological criteria for seeds and sprouted seeds for both EU-produced and imported product so that if product is not compliant it may not be placed on the market; traceability of seeds in the EU; and hygiene controls for the production of seeds intended for sprouting. Member states have informally backed these measures but a formal vote is set to take place after the summer, followed by the scrutiny of the European Parliament with adoption likely by December.