The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has released updated guidelines to help the seafood industry reduce or eliminate food safety hazards.

This is the fourth edition of the “Fish and Fishery Products Hazards and Controls Guidance.” Revising the guidelines fulfills a mandate of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, which became law in January.

In a news release Wednesday, FDA said key changes in the new edition include:

Updated post-harvest treatment for pathogenic bacteria in shellfish — including Vibrio vulnificus and Vibrio parahaemolyticus;

Revised time and temperature recommendations to better control for scombrotoxin (histamine) formation and pathogenic bacteria;

Information on regulations and tolerance levels that have changed since the previous edition was published;

Hazard information on species of seafood new to the U.S. market;

More detailed descriptions of the potential illnesses and injuries related to seafood.

The document is intended to help seafood processors create and carry out their Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) plans. While it does not specifically describe safe handling practices for consumers, grocery stores or restaurants, many of the concepts would be useful.

A printable version of the guide, in .pdf format, is available here.

A bound copy of the guidance can be ordered online at or by calling the Florida Sea Grant, IFAS-Extension bookstore at the University of Florida at 1-800-226-1764.