Printer Friendly

Proposed seafood inspection program getting closer to implementation in USA.

The National Fisheries Institute (NFI) in the United States has voiced strong support for the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) proposed seafood inspection program based on the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) system.

Lee Weddig, NFI executive vice president, said, "Because of the international character of the seafood industry, the scope of this new regulatory program effectively extends throughout the world. HACCP will enhance the safety of all commercial seafood products."

It is believed that the FDA will take about nine months to review public commentary regarding the comprehensive regulatory program. Final regulations are expected to be published in early 1995, with an effective date of one to two years later.

Meanwhile, the American Frozen Food Institute (AFFI) has let the FDA know its opinion in no uncertain terms. President Steven C. Anderson recently declared that requiring a mandatory HACCP program for low risk products such as frozen fish and seafood is not only unnecessary to protect public health, but could actually undermine the progress companies are making to develop their own HACCP systems.

"Most foodborne illness outbreaks are the result of mishandling or temperature abuse, either by the consumer at home or by foodservice operators," he said. "FDA, therefore, should concentrate its primary efforts in these areas."

AFFI holds that mandatory programs should be required by the regulatory agencies only when fish or seafood contains a sensitive ingredient that does not undergo further processing, and when a substantial body of evidence exists based on epidemiological, scientific and clinical data that the food product may present a significant risk to public health.

"Mandatory adoption of HACCP as suggested in FDA's proposal would overwhelm the system with undertrained and inexperienced FDA and industry HACCP 'experts,' thereby undermining HACCP programs before they have even become effective," said Anderson. "The system ultimately could collapse under its own weight of so many individuals and companies changing the method by which they establish new food safety parameters."

AFFI also urged the FDA to further define in its proposal the extent to which fish or seafood must be present in a product to require implementation of the fish and fishery product HACCP rule. The frozen food trade association believes the scope of the proposed rule, which applies to all products "derived in whole or in part from fish which has been processed in any manner," is too broad.

According to AFFI, even if the application of mandatory HACCP is limited to those products that present a substantial safety risk, the rule should be limited further to fish or fishery defined as: derived in whole from seafood; derived in part from seafood, with seafood being a major and characterizing ingredient; derived in part from seafood constituting 10% or more of the finished product; or derived in part from seafood if the processor's safety analysis determines that the seafood ingredient constitutes a significant safety risk and adequate controls are absent.

NFI Wants Changes

The National Fisheries Institute, while endorsing the basic concepts proposed by the FDA, has recommended a series of changes including:

* Fishing vessels which do not deliver to HACCP plants and retailers not subject to the Model Food Code should be included in the HACCP program;

* Specific sanitation procedures should not be a part of the regulations, but rather continue to be addressed through Good Manufacturing Practice requirements;

* Mandatory HACCP control points should be limited to health hazards;

* Consumer complaints should not be a part of HACCP;

* Product handling labels should not be mandated;

* All firms, including importers, should have two years to comply with regulations starting from the date they are published in final form in the Federal Register.

Weddig said, "This two year implementation is important to allow adequate training time for the industry and government inspectors. It also would provide adequate opportunity to negotiate government-to-government agreements with the many foreign agencies responsible for inspecting the more than 2.8 billion pounds of seafood that are exported to the United States annually."

Having said that, the NFI executive vice president is encouraging those firms that are able and willing to implement HACCP systems before the mandatory deadline. "Such would meet the requirements of both Canada and the European Union that are beginning to require HACCP for their imported seafood products, as well as foster increased consumer confidence in seafood products," he pointed out.

In addition to supporting domestic HACCP training programs, NFI has discussed the new seafood inspection program with industry representatives in Mexico, Japan, New Zealand and with the International Coalition of Fisheries Associations. It is estimated that approximately 50% of the seafood that is consumed in the USA is imported, and that American exports account for perhaps as much as 40% of commercial seafood production.

VIS Attracts Equipment VIPs

Processing equipment will be one of the big attractions at the VIS 94 Seafood Show in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, Sept. 12-14. Of course, there will also be plenty of new fish and seafood products, frozen and otherwise.

Sites for the show are the RAI Exhibition Center and the Congress Center. For more information, contact the Project Management Department of the RAI Center, 1078 GZ, Amsterdam; telephone 31-20-549-1212.
COPYRIGHT 1994 E.W. Williams Publications, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1994 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Publication:Quick Frozen Foods International
Date:Jul 1, 1994
Previous Article:Optimism and skepticism mixed at European Seafood Summit.
Next Article:Saudi Fisheries: sailing confidently into new waters.

Related Articles
Mandatory federal fish inspection law just a matter of time in United States.
Suppliers to USA market well advised to get with seafood inspection program.
Pay heed: HACCP, the FDA and NOAA change shape of fish inspection for USA.
Getting with FDA's HACCP program: NFI/SGS alliance can help processors.
NFI Helmsman Stays the Course As US Seafood Industry Sails On.
Seafood Sales Value Nears $50 Billion At Consumer Level in USA Market.
Onward and Upward For Indian Seafood.
Are US Seafood Processing Plants Safe? GAO and Processors at Odds on Report.
Cool: mandatory labeling law promotes Alaska seafood: despite obvious benefits to Alaska fishermen pushing for fresh vs. farmed, the jury is still...

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2019 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters