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FDA Updates Seafood Guidance to Enhance Seafood Safety

Food Basket

Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition - Food and Drug Administration

April 27, 2011

FDA is announcing the availability of the 4th edition of the “Fish and Fishery Products Hazards and Controls Guidance.”  This updated guidance contains FDA’s latest recommendations to the seafood industry for reducing or eliminating food safety hazards in the fish and fishery products they process.

Key changes found in the new edition include:

  • Updated post harvest treatment information for pathogenic bacteria in shellfish — including  Vibrio vulnificus and Vibrio parahaemolyticus — consistent with the current recommendations of the Interstate Shellfish Sanitation Conference;
  • Revised time and temperature recommendations to better control for scombrotoxin (histamine) formation and pathogenic bacteria;
  • Consistency with statutes, regulations, tolerances, and action levels which have changed since the publication of the previous edition;
  • The species-hazard identification table has been expanded to include additional species of seafood now found in the U.S. market;
  • More comprehensive descriptions of potential illnesses and injuries which could result from a hazard.

FDA requires processors of seafood intended for the U.S. market to identify potential hazards associated with the types of seafood they process and to develop and implement a Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) program to control for those hazards that are reasonably likely to occur.  Processors can use the guidance to help identify the likelihood that a food safety hazard may occur in their product and to guide them in the preparation of appropriate HACCP plans.

A bound copy of the guidance can be ordered online at www.ifasbooks.comdisclaimer icon or by calling the Florida Sea Grant, IFAS-Extension bookstore at the University of Florida at 1-800-226-1764.

Issuing this updated guidance fulfills one of the provisions of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, which was signed in into law in January 2011.