2014 ISGA Convention


March 24 – March 28, 2014

Information & Imagination:  Convention 24 Lived up to its Name

Imagine: Sprouts grown in the spent irrigation water of other sprouts and thriving, week after week. Bob Sanderson’s very simple experiment opened the convention with opening our imaginations to the possibility that the normal flora of growing sprouts might be the highest level of competition for unwanted bacteria and that sprouts might also be the highest quality. This set the tone for a convention of thinking out of the box.

Dr. Thierry Vrain, retired soil biologist and genetic engineer from Agriculture Canada, shocked the group with stories of the levels of glysophate, the active ingredient in the “safe” pesticide, Roundup, which has found its way into our air, water, and food.

Eight sprout growers delighted us with news from their companies and their different countries: Marjon Specialty Foods, our host in Orlando; Jonathan’s Sprouts, US representative; Eatmore Sprouts and Greens, Canada; Parilla Fresh, Australia; Brotes de Tres Arroyos, Argentina; Geo-Sprouts Product and Technology Development Co., China; Tian Seng Hang Trading Co., Malaysia; and Van Der Plas Sprouts, Holland.

Steve Meyerowitz, Sproutman Publications, is completing two new books with the latest news about the health miracles of sprouts. Steve brought the highlights of the books to our attention in his personal talk about our fine products.

Tom Stenzel, President and CEO of United Fresh, founding partner of the “Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools” campaign, suggested that some schools are open-minded enough to put sprouts in their salad bars… something many of us never imagined. The focus is on all the Good News about sprouts!

Dr. Don Schaffner, Extension Specialist in Food Science and Professor at Rutgers University, explained quantitative microbial risk assessment and predictive food microbiology. “Why are you looking for a 5-log reduction?” “Because an expert said that.” “Are you sure that is relevant to sprouts?” “Question the experts!” Imagine that. “Information & Imagination”

Lydia Berry, US Department of Agriculture, informed us of the programs run by the USDA to help businesses in the agricultural sector. She spoke of the work being done now to bring the Sprout Safety Audit to sprout growers in the US, Canada and parts of Mexico, managed by the USDA.

Ed Treacy, VP, Produce Marketing Association (PMA), educated us on the value of product traceability, the PTI (Produce Traceability Initiative) and innovations in production and marketing.

Dr. Keith Warriner, University of Guelph, gave an analysis of many tested methods of disinfesting seeds for sprouting and how they measure up. For US and Australian growers, there is good news around the corner of sanitizers that work better than the present chlorine treatment and are user friendly.

Dr. Alexander “Sandro” Sulakvelidze, Chief Scientist of Intralytix, Inc. illustrated the work of bacteriophages and their practical application for targeting specific pathogens safely in our facilities and on food itself. Phages, ubiquitous in the environment, have been determined safe for use in food and the environment by regulatory agencies in the US. Imagine that!

Brian Clement, Ph.D., N.M.D., L.N., Hippocrates Health Institute, has, for over 35 years, observed people recovering from cancer and other “terminal” diagnoses by changing their diets to include up to 50% sprouts. He opened our imaginations to the wide variety of seed sprouts and their amazing healing properties. Without a doubt, sprouts are the number one food for delivery of healing nutrition. He blessed the growers at the convention with his respect for the work we do in bringing this important food to the world.

Immediately following Dr. Clement’s inspiring talk, the chef from Hippocrates Health Institute, Ken Blue, demonstrated the preparation of the most amazing raw food lunch: vegan sushi and Pad Thai noodles which everyone sampled. Many came back for a full meal.

Jim Prevor, The Perishable Pudit, “produce industry’s most important forum for the discussion and analysis of issues relevant to the trade” opened our eyes to new marketing ideas. Weigh the net benefit of sprouts: the risk of making someone sick against the long-term benefit of preventing illness in and healing thousands of people who consume sprouts! Carry on and get the word out. Sprouts are an important food and sprout growers bring it to market.

We are sorry some of you had to miss this 24th ISGA convention. There were 65 attendees from 11 countries. The information, camaraderie and imagination were the best ever.