Newsroom

HACCP Training Offered again by Sea Grant

Seafood Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) training is again being offered to processors twice a year by Louisiana Sea Grant (LSG) and the LSU School of Nutrition and Food Sciences.

“Seafood HACCP classes will be held in January and June,” said Evelyn Gutierrez Watts, seafood specialist with LSG and the LSU AgCenter, and an assistant professor of nutrition and food sciences. “The training includes classroom work and hands-on exercises, and it is recognized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

“Sanitation Control Procedures for Fish and Fishery Products is also offered twice a year, usually on the Monday before HACCP classes,” she added.

HACCP is a systematic, preventive approach to protect seafood, meats and fruit juices from biological, chemical and physical hazards that can cause food product to be unsafe. Both the FDA and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) require food processors to have HACCP protocols to protect public health. In most instances, seafood is regulated by the FDA and meat and poultry by the USDA.

“With the most recent Farm Bill, catfish production went from FDA to USDA oversight,” said Watts. “Catfish producers had to follow food safety procedures under FDA, but now they have to meet USDA standards and there are differences.”

Those differences and new compliance regulations were explained to catfish processors at two workshops in August. Approximately 380 million pounds of catfish are produced in the United States annually. According to most recent data, only about 80 acres of ponds in Louisiana are currently being used for catfish production. At its high, thousands of acres of ponds were used for catfish farming.

Watts also provides Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) and HACCP training targeted to supervisors, monitoring personnel and food handlers. It is a one-day class that can be held at the processor’s facility. “With FDA revised GMP regulations, seafood processors are required to train employees in the principles of food hygiene and food safety, including the importance of employee health and personal hygiene as appropriate to the food, the facility and the individual’s assigned duties. Some facilities looking into Safe Quality Foods certification are also looking for this type of training for their employees,” said Watts. “This class fulfills the requirements.”

Upcoming seafood HACCP and sanitation classes will be announced at www.laseagrant.org and www.lafisheriesforward.org. Watts can be reached at [email protected].