For Federal, State, Local, Tribal, and Territorial Officials

FDA National Shellfish Sanitation Program

What are molluscan shellfish?

Molluscan shellfish include bivalves such as oysters, clams, mussels, and scallops.

How does FDA work with states to ensure safety of molluscan shellfish?

Through the National Shellfish Sanitation Program (NSSP), FDA, other federal agencies, state regulatory agencies, tribes, academia, and the shellfish industry work together in a cooperative program to keep molluscan shellfish safe for consumption by adhering to strict controls on their growing, harvesting, processing, packaging, and transport.

The cooperative program has four components to help keep contaminated molluscan shellfish out of the marketplace:

  • Classifying and monitoring shellfish growing areas based on potential pollution sources, water quality, and other factors that indicate suitability for harvest including pre-harvest Vibrio control.
  • Inspecting facilities that handle shellfish to ensure the use of proper sanitary measures and adequate post harvest Vibrio control.
  • Patrolling closed or prohibited waters to deter illegal harvesting.
  • Conducting laboratory testing and analysis of shellfish and water samples.

What is the Interstate Shellfish Shippers Conference (ISSC) and what is its relationship with FDA?

The ISSC was formed in 1982 to foster and promote shellfish sanitation through the cooperation of state and federal regulatory agencies, the shellfish industry, and the academic community. FDA has a formal Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the ISSC that outlines each other's responsibilities.

Where can I find more information on FDA's National Shellfish Sanitation Program?

General questions can be directed to the Office of Partnerships' general mailbox: OP-ORA@fda.hhs.gov.

For further information, also visit here for more on the Shellfish Sanitation Program and Shippers List. You can also review the Interstate Shellfish Shippers List for more contact information.

To access molluscan shellfish sanitation resource materials, go to Resources.

Page Last Updated: 04/11/2016
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