Histamine Related Concerns
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Histamine Related Concerns for Potential Scombrotoxic Fish Processed with Carbon Monoxide or Filtered Smokes. Steve Otwell University of Florida Aquatic Food Products Program. Which do you find more appealing ?. USE OF CARBON MONOXIDE. Advantages Disadvantages.

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Histamine Related Concerns for Potential Scombrotoxic Fish Processed with Carbon Monoxide or Filtered Smokes

Steve OtwellUniversity of FloridaAquatic Food Products Program

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Which do you find more appealing ?

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Advantages Disadvantages

  •  Allows freezing for distant market access

  • Provides safety margin over current practices

  • Strong market demand (USA)

  •  Deception, enhance appearance of inferior product

  • Mask potential food safety problems (histamines)

  • Potential toxicity with consumption

Commercial Opinion is Divided

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Commercial Development - History

traditional Hot Smoking...Cold Smoking

1960’s gas blends with MAP & ROP

1970’s CO patents for meat, poultry and fish

1980’s Patents for ‘Filtered’ Smoke

1999 Patent & Petition for ‘Tasteless Smoke’

2001 Patent for 0.4% CO with Red Meats (Canada)

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William R Kowalski October 26, 1999

“Tasteless Smoke”

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Commercial Development - Trends

Applications ( Tasteless, Clear, Artificial-TS ): Passive ‘gas in a bag’  Active ‘pressure differentials’  Euthanasia (cultured fish)

Products: Tuna other fish species  Tilapia other cultured species

Locations: IndoPacific South & Central America and recently USA

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Sushi Gradesvs. Grill Grades

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HACCP &Sanitation

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ROP & Vac Packaging

C. botulinum issue if refrigerated vs. frozen

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Mandated vs. Enforced ?

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Regulatory Status - USA

CO is not approved as a food additive

CO is not approved as a color additive

CO can not be used to a make product look better than it is …


…while FDA did not grant GRAS status for use of ‘tasteless smoke, they did not object to a petition for use with tuna …?

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Regulatory Status - USA

FDA’s response issued caution with the use of CO and specified necessary labeling…Tuna, Tasteless Smoke (as a preservative)Tuna, Carbon Monoxide (as a preservative)

Similar position on red meat petition…?

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Regulatory Status - USA

NMFS - voluntary inspection services (fee)

 List NMFS Approved Operations

- basic sanitation - HACCP program - color standards (fading) ?

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Regulatory Status - Other Nations

USA - primary market

Japan - banned if CO concentration greater than 500 ug/kg (?)Canada - not ‘currently’ approvedsince requested in 1999

EU - Committee objections in 2001, yet limited utilization in meats (Norway)

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Commercial Development - Trends


 Less experienced participants

 Competition - Patent infringement & Royalties - Fresh vs. Frozen Producers - “Refreshed” Products

 Negative Publicity Anticipated

 Public Reactions ?

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Negative Publicity

Tuna's Red Glare?

It Could Be Carbon MonoxideHiroko Masuike for The New York TimesAPPETIZING? At Oh! Raku, above, tuna, boldly red, has been treated with gas.

By JULIA MOSKIN (Oct. 2004)


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Negative Publicity

Often competitors with refrigerated products

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Negative Publicity

China treats fish with carbon monoxide !

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Congressional Activity

  • Hearings regarding CO use with red meats

  • Congressman Dingill’s –

  • ‘Food and Drug Import Safety Act” calling for ‘alternative labeling requirements’ for CO exposed meat, poultry and seafood …

CO Pack

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Histamine Concern

Species specific issue - claiming potential scombrotoxic illnesses due to consumption of certain fish that “looked” good or acceptable although it may have suffered thermal abuse prior to processing or during subsequent handling or storage

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Histamine Concern

  • Evidence for document illnesses for such ?

  • Offers safety option for USA’s growing dependence on imports from long-distant sources

  • Can be addressed with better controls per species, frozen storage and labeling

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Science is trailing commercial practice

  • Controls - initial product condition vs. CO applications - product shelf-life after thaw - user safety in applications

  • Monitoring - detection vs. labeling - shelf-life for quality and product safety - time temperature integrators (TTI’s)