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Seafood Processors Have HACCP Issues

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) wants to hear from one foreign and two domestic seafood processors who share the problem of “having serious violations” of seafood Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) regulations.

Grupo Alimentario Del Atlantico S.A., a seafood processing facility in Barranquilla, Columbia, received a “Warning Letter” from the Office of Compliance at FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition last Dec. 23.

C&S Wholesale Grocers Inc., which operates a seafood processing facility in Hatfield, MA, received a “Warning Letter” Jan. 13 from FDA’s New England District.

Gold Star Seafood Inc., with a seafood processing facility in Chicago, received its “Warning Letter” from the Chicago District, also Jan. 13.

All three letters were made public Feb. 2.

The South American seafood processing facility in Columbia was inspected Aug. 6-10, 2009.  FDA said its HACCP violations mean the canned and vacuum-packaged frozen tuna products are “adulterated” under the meaning of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.

FDA told Grupo Alimentario it must conduct a hazard analysis for each fish and fish product it produces.

“Your firm’s HACCP plan for ‘Frozen tuna loins and canned tuna’ does not list the food safety hazard Staphylococcus aureus toxin development that is reasonably likely to occur after the precook operation, prior to either freezing the tuna loins or conducting the thermal process for the canned tuna,” FDA warned.

Grupo Alimentario holds fish after pre-cook for up to ten hours, which is enough time for the toxin to develop.

FDA also found that the Columbia fish processor’s “skinning/cleaning” critical control point was not adequate for addressing metal fragments.

C&S Wholesale, based in Keene, NH, learned from FDA that its “refrigerated, ready to eat, pasteurized canned crabmeat is adulterated, in that it maybe prepared, packed, or held under insanitary conditions whereby it may have been rendered injurious to health.”

C&S was told it needs to do a better job of monitoring temperatures to control Clostridium botulinum growth and toxin formation.

C&S responded to FDA’s Form 483 report on inspection observation on Sept. 18, but did not document its temperature monitoring devices, provided no data, and gave no evidence that personnel are appropriately monitoring temperatures.

Gold Star, based in Chicago, also produces canned crabmeat and also was found to have monitoring violations.   FDA’s concern is having a HACCP to prevent pathogen growth and potential toxin formation, including Clostridium botulinum growth and toxin formation.

The three companies were given 15 working days to respond to FDA to tell how they plan on coming into compliance.

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