Seafood Safety Promoted by the New National Alliance

Seafood inspection regulations recently tightened by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration have consumers asking questions about the safety of their seafood. "Generally the nation's seafood supply is very safe," says UC Davis seafood technology specialist Robert J. Price. "However there are a few problems that have the potential to affect a lot of people." The biggest threat comes from microbial contamination of mishandled seafood, so cooked seafood is safer. Price says a consumer's chance of getting sick from cooked seafood is about one in a million. The risk jumps dramatically to one in 250 for raw seafood. Pollutants along coastal areas and naturally produced toxins in some types of shellfish are other areas of concern. To address these problems the nation's seafood industry, universities and government agencies recently formed an alliance to help educate and train those who handle seafood at all the "critical control points." The group, which includes Price among its members, calls itself the Seafood Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point Alliance.