With everything thatís going on with meat safety, what is being done in the area of seafood?
Food safety is an important issue with everyone in the foodservice industry even though we have the safest food supplies in the world. As far as seafood goes, it has a strong safety record.
The latest assessments suggest that fishery products are implicated in less than one percent of all foodborne illnesses in the United States.
Consumers can expect even greater assurance that seafood is safe and wholesome as a result of a tough, inspection program announced by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in early 1994. The program is based on the principles of the Hazard Analysis Critical Point (HACCP, pronounced HASS-IP) system.
HACCP was developed originally to assure safe food for astronauts. Recommended by the National Academy of Sciences, HACCP takes a proactive approach to food safety with mandatory measures to prevent food safety hazards, rather than trying to find and correct problems after the fact. Preventive measures are applied at each point throughout the process where problems occur. These control points are different for various processes and species.
For example, critical control points in a smoked fish processing plant are different from those in a breaded shrimp processing plant or a fish processing plant.
Central to a HACCP program is the maintenance of monitoring records, approved by trained and certified quality control personnel and reviewed periodically by the FDA and state inspectors to verify that proper controls are being maintained. These records will give government inspectors a historical perspective on conditions at the facility. In addition, all plants will be subject to rigorous and documentable sanitation and hygienic requirements.