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Seafood Safety. Joong-Han Shin, Barbara Rasco & Dong-Hyun Kang Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition Washington State University Tyler Greeson, ClearSprings Foods. Current Hot Issues. Mercury in fish (California Proposition 65 case) Environmental contaminants and pollution

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seafood safety

Seafood Safety

Joong-Han Shin, Barbara Rasco & Dong-Hyun Kang

Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition Washington State University

Tyler Greeson, ClearSprings Foods

current hot issues
Current Hot Issues
  • Mercury in fish (California Proposition 65 case)
  • Environmental contaminants and pollution
  • GM foods (they’re back…)
  • Food additives (colorants)
  • Microbial contamination
risks of microbial contamination in aquatic food products
Risks of microbial contamination in aquatic food products
  • Raw molluscan shellfish – Vibrio spp., bacterial toxins, fecal pathogens
  • Raw fish – Parasites and various

bacteria (killed by heating)

risks of microbial contamination in aquatic food products4
Risks of microbial contamination in aquatic food products
  • Ready-to-eat and smoked fish -
    • Listeria monocytogenes
    • Vibrio spp.
    • Clostridium botulinum (regulatory issue)
    • Mesophiles from humans or warm blooded animals (Salmonella spp., E. coli)
listeria monocytogenes
Listeria monocytogenes
  • Gram-positive bacterium, motile by means of flagella
  • Isolated from soil, sediments, estuaries, and other environmental sources
  • Grows at temperatures as low as –0.1°C and hıgh salt (up to 10%)
  • Asymptomatic or mild flu-like symptoms
  • Immunocompromised:septicemia or


  • Infants: spontaneous miscarriage, stillbirth, development of meningitis within a few days of birth
  • Fatality: elderly and children if untreated
listeria in foods
Listeria in foods
  • The vast majority of cases are sporadic,

making epidemiological links to food

very difficult (CDC, 1987)

projected number of listeria outbreaks
Projected number of Listeria outbreaks
  • 2,500 cases per year. Possibly 500 deaths
  • Overall prevalence in RTE food supply is 1.8% (31,705 tested)
  • Highest levels >102/g in lunch meat and smoked fish
listeria in seafoods
Listeria in seafoods
  • The incidence of L. monocytogenes in cold-smoked or cured salmon ranges from 6 to 50%
  • FDA/USDA risk assessments estimates are that 15% of all smoked fish is contaminated with L. monocytogenes
  • 17% of vacuum-packed crawfish tails

and 25.8% of lightly pickled fish are contamınated

listeria contamination patterns
Listeria contamination patterns
  • Rate of contamınatıon of raw finfish for smoking range from 2 to 30%
  • 12% of raw shellfish and 8% of raw crab
  • 28-44% of environmental samples (floor, surfaces, drains) from smoked fish plants
  • 4.5% of meat processing plant


  • 3.1% retail refrigerators
temperature abuse makes listeria problem worse
Temperature abuse makes Listeria problem worse
  • 26% of refrigerators average >8C (France)
  • 33.3% of refrigerators > 7ºC (UK)
  • 55% of domestic and 32% of retail store refrigerators > 9ºC (Greece)
  • Refrigerators of 70% elderly consumers

>6ºC (UK)

regulation of listeria
Regulation of Listeria
  • zero tolerance for L. monocytogenes in cooked and ready-to-eat food by USDA-FSIS and FDA
  • Both agencies at theır dıscretıon, can hold or detain products at the food processing plant, request a voluntary recall or seize products. Numerous seafood producers have ınıtıated recalls, even ın cases where there have been no ıllnesses.
recent recalls of trout products
Recent recalls of trout products
  • Food recall involves: cost of product, cost to cover, lost markets, and damage of company’s reputation.
  • Direct costs of recall are ~10% of total
seafood packaging
Seafood packaging
  • FDA concern with safety of vacuum packaging
  • Modified atmosphere packaging (MAP)
  • MAP alter the gaseous environment in the immediate vicinity of the product
  • Slows microbial growth and enzyme activity
  • MAP may inhibit the growth of L. monocytogenes in fish at refrigerated temperatures
  • L. monocytogenes strains

ATCC 19114, 7644, 19113

  • Raw and smoked rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss)
  • Enumeration on modified Oxford medium and plate count agar
  • Packaging method

- air-packaging

- vacuum packaging

- nitrogen gas flushing

- nitrogen flushing & vacuum packaging

  • Storage at 3°C or 7°C (mild thermal abuse)
  • Sensory evaluation
  • 3  C: L. monocytogenes in fresh and smoked trout remained at initial levels during storage. MAP had no effect.
  • 7  C: L. monocytogenes increased up to 2 log in fresh trout, 4 log in smoked trout during storage. MAP had no effect.
  • MAP did not prevent the growth of endogenous microflora
  • Fresh trout: aroma of Nitrogen & Nitrogen-Vacuum packaging remained acceptable for 20 days. Product would be spoiled before Listeria levels would become high.
  • Smoked trout:acceptable aroma for 30 days.
  • Smoked trout with moderately high initial levels of Listeria (log 2) could be unsafe in 10-15 days at mild thermal abuse (7oC) and not appear to be spoiled.