TABLE 4-13 FDA Recommended Controls to Reduce or Eliminate Potential Parasite Hazards from Seafood


FDA Recommendation


Parasite Removal

Trimming away of suspect and identified portions and/or portions identified with candling

Not recommended as sole preventive method


Heating of raw fish sufficient to kill bacterial pathogens

FDA Food Code (2005e) definition for cooked seafood is an internal product temperature of 145°F for 15 seconds


Freezing and storing at −4°F or below for 7 days or freezing at −31°F or below until solid and storing at −31°F or below for 15 hours, or freezing at −31°F or below until solid and storing at −4°F or below for 24 hours

FDA’s Food Code recommends these freezing conditions to retailers who provide fish intended for raw consumption

SOURCE: FDA, 2001a, International Food Safety Council (

prevent infections (Bier, 1976; Deardorff and Throm, 1988; FDA, 2001a). The current HACCP program requires freezing for certain species intended for commercial use as sushi and related raw seafood products (FDA, 2001a). Given the widespread adoption of HACCP and infrequent incidence of reported infections, concern about parasitic infection may not be deterring consumers from raw seafood consumption. Consumers may still choose to consume raw seafood products that have not been frozen previously.

Naturally Occurring Toxins

Ciguatera and Scombroid

Ciguatera and scombrotoxin are the two most persistent seafoodborne toxicants (IOM, 1991). Ciguatoxins, acquired through the local environmental food chain prior to harvest, may involve a variety of toxins from certain dinoflagellates. Ciguatera arises in certain fish harvested from specific tropical to subtropical regions about South Florida, the Caribbean region, and Hawaii. Reports in Florida suggest there is no evidence for increasing incidence (Personal communication, R. Hammond, Florida Department of Health, Tallahassee, FL, December 2005) (see Table 4-14). These data do not distinguish harvest source, but they do identify the more probable species of concern. Occurrence involves recreational as well as commercial harvests. Risk of ciguatera may increase with illegal recreational sales (not subject to HACCP controls) and with increasing imports of certain fish from affected areas.

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