florida-agriculture.com

Agriculture Press Release

Janaury 8, 1998

New Food Safety Standards Implemented for Seafood

TALLAHASSEE Florida Agriculture Commissioner Bob Crawford today announced that new food safety standards that went into effect December 18 will further ensure the safety of seafood consumed by the public.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services required seafood processors to have established a Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) inspection system in their facilities by December 18, 1997. HACCP is a science-based, process-control system designed to identify and most importantly prevent microbial and other food-safety hazards in food production. It includes systematic steps to prevent problems from occurring, and to correct deviations as soon as they are detected.

"The implementation of this system gives consumers additional assurance that the seafood theyre buying is safe," Crawford said. "The seafood industry is the first to adopt this system, which will soon be utilized throughout the food processing industry in the United States."

Products covered under HACCP include fresh and saltwater finfish, crustaceans, all molluscan shellfish, and other forms of aquatic animal life, such as alligators, frogs and jellyfish. The program supplements already existing requirements that processors follow good manufacturing practices and sanitary standard operating procedures.

The only seafood operations that are not required to have a HACCP plan are those that harvest or transport fish or fishery products without engaging in processing; those that conduct heading, eviscerating or freezing intended solely to prepare fish for holding on-board a harvest vessel; or those that operate a retail establishment.

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, along with the University of Florida Sea Grant Program, the Southeastern Fisheries Association, and other agencies in Florida, have been instructing regulatory and industry personnel in the HACCP process since September 1996. Training classes will continue to be scheduled and taught on an as-needed basis throughout Florida.

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NOTE TO EDITORS:

If you would like to contact seafood processors in your area who have implemented a HACCP program, please contact John Easley, Bureau of Seafood and Aquaculture, at (850) 488-0163 or e-mail at .

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For More Information:
John Easley
(850) 488-0163


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