What we doESSA - European Sprouted Seeds Association
What we do
ESSA works to promote the interests of European sprouted seed growers, as well as to provide a forum to discuss issues affecting the European sprouted seeds sector and an opportunity to discuss common issues such as promotion, food safety, EU regulatory affairs and other issues.
ESSA provides advice to its members in order to make sure that the requirements of the European food safety legislation are met. The association actively promotes compliance with EU food safety legislation both by European sprout producers and seed suppliers in third countries.
ESSA was very active in the wake of the E.coli crisis in Europe to show the multiple efforts undertaken by the sprouting sector in the area of good hygiene practices. The association gave, among others, significant help and input to the EFSA Scientific Opinion on the risk posed by Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) and other pathogenic bacteria in seeds and sprouted seeds.
The European Union enacted four new pieces of legislation for the European sprouting sector in July 2013. These regulations, respectively Regulations 208/2013, 209/2013, 210/2013 and 211/2013 (amended by Commission Regulation (EU) No 704/2014) establish more stringent rules on registration and control of operators, traceability requirements, microbiological testing as well as import of seeds for sprouting from third countries. ESSA accompanied this process on behalf of the European sprouters and helped sprouting companies understand and implement these new rules.
The EU regulations also imposed new requirements on seeds producers and suppliers in third countries, chiefly the respect of good hygiene practices according to regulation 852/2004. ESSA is in close contact with trade partners in the EU´s key supply countries, especially China and Myanmar, to accompany the implementation of these rules and to secure the continuous supply of seeds for sprouting in compliance with EU law. After audits of the EU´s Food and Veterinary Office (FVO) in October 2013 (China) and March 2014 (Myanmar), ESSA has contributed valuable information and support to the seeds sectors to help understand and implement the precise EU requirements. Among others, ESSA elaborated a guideline for hygienic production of seeds for sprouting.
To help producers across Europe and to give a useful tool to competent authorities, ESSA has developed a hygiene guideline for the production of sprouts and seeds for sprouting. On 13 December 2016, the Biological Section of the Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed of DG Santé (Directorate General for Health and Food Safety, European Commission) endorsed the final version of the European Hygiene Guideline for the Production of sprouts and seeds for sprouting issued by ESSA. More information about the Hygiene Guideline: HERE