FDA Launches Fourth "Fish and Fishery Products Hazards and Controls Guidance"

The FDA has announced the availability of the fourth edition of the “Fish and Fishery Products Hazards and Controls Guidance.” This updated guidance contains the 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.

The 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 end-users in the preparation of appropriate HACCP plans.

A printable version of the guide, in PDF format, is available at http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceComplianceRegulatoryInformation/GuidanceDocuments/Seafood/FishandFisheriesProductsHazardsandControlsGuide/default.htm. A bound copy of the guidance can be ordered online at www.ifasbooks.com or by calling the Florida Sea Grant, IFAS-Extension bookstore at the University of Florida at 1-800-226-1764.

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