National Academy Press
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NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance.
This report has been reviewed by a group other than the authors according to procedures approved by a Report Review Committee consisting of members of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine.
The Institute of Medicine was chartered in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to enlist distinguished members of the appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. In this, the Institute acts under both the Academy’s 1863 congressional charter responsibility to be an adviser to the federal government and its own initiative in identifying issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Samuel O. Thier is president of the Institute of Medicine.
This study was supported by contract no. 50-WCNF-8-060636 from the U.S. Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Seafood safety / Committee on Evaluation of the Safety of Fishery Products, Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences : Farid E. Ahmed, editor.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
1. Seafood--Health aspects. 2. Seafood--Safety measures. 3. Seafood--Contamination. I. Ahmed, Farid E. II. Institute of Medicine (U.S.). Committee on Evaluation of the Safety of Fishery Products.
Copyright © 1991 by the National Academy of Sciences
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COMMITTEE ON EVALUATION OF THE SAFETY OF FISHERY PRODUCTS
JOHN LISTON, Chairman,
Institute for Food Science and Technology, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington
ROGER D. ANDERSON,
Bee Gee Shrimp, Tampa, Florida
ROBERT E. BOWEN,
Environmental Sciences Program, University of Massachusetts, Boston, Massachusetts
CAMERON R. HACKNEY,
Department of Food Science and Technology, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Virginia
Center for Technology, Policy and Industrial Development, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts
MARILYN B. KILGEN,
Department of Biological Sciences, Nicholls State University, Thibodeaux, Louisiana
J. GLENN MORRIS, JR.,
Division of Geographic Medicine, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland
W. STEVEN OTWELL,
Food Science and Human Nutrition Department, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida
MORRIS E. POTTER,
Division of Bacterial Diseases, Centers for Disease Control, Atlanta, Georgia
EDWARD J. SCHANTZ,
Food Research Institute, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin
Arizona Republic Newspaper, Los Angeles, California
HARRISON M. WADSWORTH,
School of Industrial and Systems Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia
RICHARD E. WOLKE,
Comparative Aquatic Pathology Laboratory, University of Rhode Island, Providence, Rhode Island
JUDITH McDOWELL CAPUZZO,
Biology Department, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, Woods Hole, Massachusetts
Great Lakes Health Studies Division, Michigan Department of Public Health, Lansing, Michigan
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences at University of Cincinnati Medical Center, Cincinnati, Ohio
Environ Corporation, Arlington, Virginia
FARID E. AHMED, Project Director and Editor,
Food and Nutrition Board
FOOD AND NUTRITION BOARD
RICHARD J. HAVEL (Chairman),
Cardiovascular Research Institute, University of California School of Medicine, San Francisco, California
DONALD B. McCORMICK (Vice Chairman),
Department of Biochemistry, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia
EDWIN L. BIERMAN,
Division of Metabolism, Endocrinology, and Nutrition, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, Washington
EDWARD J. CALABRESE,
Environmental Health Program, Division of Public Health, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Massachusetts
JOHANNA T. DWYER,
Frances Stern Nutrition Center, New England Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts
JOHN W. ERDMAN, JR.,
Division of Nutritional Sciences, University of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois
Division of Nutritional Sciences, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York
DeWITT S. GOODMAN,
Institute of Human Nutrition, Columbia University, New York, New York
Graduate Studies, University of California, Davis, California
JANET C. KING,
Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of California, Berkeley, California
JOHN E. KINSELLA,
School of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, University of California, Davis, California
LAURENCE N. KOLONEL,
Cancer Center of Hawaii, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, Hawaii
Human Nutrition Research Center, Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Beltsville, Maryland
MALDEN C. NESHEIM,
Office of the Provost, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York
JOHN LISTON (Ex Officio),
Division of Food Science, School of Fisheries, College of Ocean and Fishery Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington
ARNO G. MOTULSKY (Ex Officio),
Center for Inherited Diseases, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington
ROY M. PITKIN (Ex Officio),
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, California
CATHERINE E. WOTEKI, Director
SHIRLEY ASH, Financial Specialist
UTE HAYMAN, Administrative Assistant
The responsibility for monitoring and control of seafood safety is divided among various agencies of the federal government, primarily the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), and the states. In recent years, however, the effectiveness of their respective programs has been questioned.
As a result of negative public perceptions, studies, and surveys conducted by various groups interested in seafood safety, Congress appropriated funds in 1988 to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of the Department of Commerce (DOC). These resources were dedicated to a two-year study to design a program of certification and seafood surveillance consistent with the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) program, a concept recommended in 1985 and 1987 by Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) committees for the inspection of meat and poultry. The National Marine Fisheries Service of NOAA then approached the Institute of Medicine (IOM) Food and Nutrition Board with a formal solicitation for a two-year study to be conducted as part of the agency's overall plan.
In response, a multidisciplinary committee of 13 scientists was convened under the auspices of the FNB to conduct the study. The committee consisted of experts in the fields of public health, marine pathology, marine toxicology, food science and technology, food microbiology, biostatistics, seafood safety policy and regulations, epidemiology, risk assessment, industry structure, and public interest. In addition, the committee had four consultants in the areas of trace-metal safety, environmental chemical contaminants, marine resources, and comparative risk assessment. The committee was divided into the following working groups to address contract tasks: (1) regulatory/legislative, (2) microbiology/parasitology, (3) natural toxins, (4) chemical residues/risk assessment, and (5) seafood consumption/industry structure. The committee was asked to evaluate the health effects of marine and freshwater fishery products (fresh or frozen) available to the consumer from commercial and recreational sources, and to identify options for improvement of the current system of seafood surveillance and control. The evaluation was to include an examination of the potential
health hazards ascribed to chemical, microbial, and parasitic contaminants of seafood (e.g., natural toxins, toxic metals, synthetic substances, microorganisms, and parasites). Existing programs conducted under the authority of federal, state, or local governments, other public bodies, and private organizations were to be evaluated to ensure the safety of seafood obtained from domestic and foreign sources. The charge to the committee was divided into nine tasks:
Meeting with personnel from NMFS, FDA, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and selected state government agencies to determine the perspectives of these agencies on seafood product safety, to learn about seafood control programs under their jurisdiction, and to hear the concerns and recommendations of federal agencies currently involved in fishery products safety issues. Programs conducted under the authority of those agencies were to be evaluated and recommendations for quality control measures were to be made.
Collecting and examining data on sources of outbreaks of seafood-borne illnesses among U.S. consumers from 1978 to 1987 gathered by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Northeast Technical Support Unit (NETSU) of FDA, and the states.
Evaluating the efficacy of current systems for documenting and reporting cases of seafood-borne illnesses among U.S. consumers in relation to other foods, including the prevalence and effect of underreporting by state public health authorities to CDC, and evaluating the adequacy of current mechanisms for advising the fishing industry and the public of desirable or necessary follow-up actions to ameliorate problems due to seafood-borne illnesses.
Identifying the cause of illness in the targeted states or territories of Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, New York, California, Washington, Connecticut, and Florida attributable to dietary exposure to fresh and frozen seafoods harvested from either commercial or recreational sources in relation to any of the following variables: the species and percentages of fishery products implicated in such illnesses, the demography of affected consumers, and the possible role of ethnic dietary habits or improper food handling by the consumer. This task includes a review of how U.S. food control systems and state programs address major health hazards associated with fishery products, as well as recommendations for improvement.
Examining contemporary procedures for detecting, identifying, and quantifying etiological agents in seafood-borne illness, along with the methods used, pertinent scientific research in progress, and recommendations for improvement in these areas.
Reviewing the role of principal imported fresh and frozen fishery products in reported outbreaks of illness among U.S. consumers, and examining the relative prevalence and significance of imported and domestic seafoods as vehicles of etiologic factors.
Conducting a statistical evaluation of FDA's acceptance sampling plans and associated decision criteria, evaluating the quality assurance principles and procedures used by FDA in accepting the results of private testing laboratories for blocklisted imported products, and making suggestions for improvements of these procedures.
Reviewing contaminants associated with seafoods that are defined by the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act as "avoidable" or "unavoidable" and assessing how well the current regulatory framework protects public health.
Assessing some indices of health risk assessment already determined by FDA and EPA for selected environmental pollutants that have an impact on fisheries, and recommending future research directions in this area as appropriate.
The tasks addressed by the committee are detailed in the various chapters and in its Executive Summary.
During the two-year duration of the study, the committee met nine times: five times the first year and four times the second year. The committee hosted a public meeting, which was part of its first meeting on January 31, 1989, to provide an opportunity for interested individuals and groups to express views or to present information to the committee for consideration. Eight speakers representing consumer groups, environmental and conservation foundations, trade organizations, and international and scientific organizations gave presentations. Some of these groups also provided the committee with additional data and information for consideration in carrying out its task.
The regulatory working group held group meetings and individual interviews with federal regulatory agencies, a variety of coastal state agencies, and industry representatives involved in seafood inspection and monitoring. Meetings with respective state regulatory representatives were conducted in Massachusetts, California, Hawaii, and the state of Washington. Additional state regulatory representation was ensured through numerous meetings and conversations with individuals from Arkansas, Wisconsin, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, and Guam. Results from meetings in Texas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Puerto Rico were referenced from project work conducted in conjunction with the Southeastern Fisheries Association, Tallahassee, Florida. This endeavor was directed toward assessing the intermingling roles of the federal and state governments in seafood regulation.
In addition to its meetings, the committee also visited several seafood processing plants in various regions of the country *Seattle, Washington; Houma, Louisiana; and Hampton, Virginia) to observe food safety issues related to production, preparation, and processing methodologies employed in the seafood industry.
The committee held a workshop in the third quarter of the study on July 26, 1989, focusing on assessing and controlling health hazards from fishery products. Seven invited speakers gave presentations, and four guests from academia and government agencies participated in the discussion.
A summary of the committee's findings, conclusions, and recommendations appears in Chapter 1. Chapter 2 describes the demographics of the seafood industry, fishery resources, aquaculture, and consumption trends. It also elaborates on activities in other countries. Chapters 3 and 4 outline health effects due to microbiological and parasitic infections and to exposure to natural toxins. Chapter 5 details the risks from exposure to environmental chemicals in aquatic organisms. Chapter 6 critiques existing risk assessment practices and suggests recommendations for improvement. Statistical sampling methods used in control of seafood hazards and suggestions for improvement are outlined in Chapter 7. Federal, state, and international programs with impact on seafood are described in Chapter 8, as well as causes of illness in targeted states, and comparative risks for consumers from different seafood products. A glossary of terms and acronyms is presented in Appendix A. The affiliation and major research interests of committee members and staff may be found in Appendix B.
The committee thanks the following individuals for public presentations: Ellen Haas of Public Voice for Food and Health Policy; Lee Weddig of National Fisheries Institute; John Farquhar of the Food Marketing Institute; Robert Murchelano of NMFS; Eleanor Dorsey of Conservation Law Foundation of New England; Carlos Fetterolf, Jr., of the Great Lakes Fishery Commission; Mary Uva of the Natural Resources Defense Council; and Theodora Colborn of the Conservation Foundation.
The committee is grateful to the following NOAA/NMFS staff who provided it with data and information: Thomas Billy, Richard Cano, Paul Comar, Ford Cross, Melvin Eklund, Peter Eldridge, E. Spencer Garrett, Amor Lane, G. Malcolm Meaburn, Bruce Morehead, and John Pearce. The committee appreciates the help of FDA representatives (George Hoskin, Richard Ronk, Alvin Shroff, Mary Snyder, and John Taylor) and USDA representatives (Catherine Adams and Lester Crawford) for the material they provided.
The committee values and benefited from the information presented at its workshop by Harold Humphrey, Joseph Rodricks, Yoshitsugi Hokama, David Weber, John Kvenberg, David Bevan, and E. Spencer Garrett.
The committee appreciates the assistance of the following seafood plant personnel who facilitated its visits to their operations: Richard Pace of Unisea, Inc., in Redmond, Washington; Ray Clark of Sea Freeze Cold Storage in Seattle, Washington; Michael and Elgin Voisin of Motivatit Seafoods in Houma, Louisiana; Harold La Peyer of Indian Ridge Shrimp Co. in Houma, Louisiana; and Daniel Kauffman of Amory Seafood, Inc., in Hampton, Virginia.
The committee is also grateful to the numerous state regulatory officials, particularly Robert Price and Robert Ross from California; Richard Delaney and Nancy Ridley from Massachusetts; Kathryn Kendrick-Vanderpool, John Crobin, and Howard Deese from Hawaii; and John Daly and Roger deCamp from Washington State, who assisted in arrangement and participation in state regulatory meetings, and the project liaison provided by Robert P. Jones of Southeastern Fisheries Association, Inc. In addition, the committee is indebted to the the following people who provided invaluable written and oral material: G. Burton Ayles, Carl Baker, Carin Bisland, David Borgeson, Daniel Brazo, Robert Burgess, James Colquhoun, Floyd Cornelius, John Farrington, Barbara Glenn, David Goldthwaite, Robert Haddock, Richard Hassinger, Diane Heiman, Daniel Helwig, Richard Hess, John Hesse, Kimberly Hummel, Roger Kenyon, Lee Kernen, Susan M. Krebs-Smith, Thomas Lauer, Gerry LeTendre, Lee Liebenstein, Donald Lollick, James Maclean, Sally Cole-Misch, Douglas Morrisette, Dale Morse, Steve Plakas, Gerald Pollack, Judy Pratt, Ronald Preston, Gilbert Radonski, Alvin Rainosek, Aaron Rosenfield, Rosalie Schnick, Lawrence Skinner, Mitsuto Sugi, Maurice Tamura, Paulette Thompson, Alan White, Asa Wright, and Chester Zawacki.
Moreover, the committee commends the assistance, hard work, and support of FNB staff: Farid E. Ahmed for the organizational and administrative support of the committee's work, and for editing the report; Barbara Matos for typing and finalizing the documents; Robert Earl for finalizing some chapters; and Catherine Woteki, Enriqueta Bond, and Samuel Thier for their support of the committee's work. Florence Poillon and Sally Stanfield are to be commended for final manuscript editing and report preparation, and Francesca Moghari for designing the cover to the report.
The Chair also wishes to thank the committee and its consultants, who volunteered countless hours and effort to produce an objective and timely report on a controversial subject that is a small part of a major national issue, the safety of the food supply.
Committee on Evaluation of Safety of Fishery Products