The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has adopted a method of inspection for food safety in the seafood and aquaculture industry. This system of inspection is called "HACCP" for "Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point" and is designed to prevent and control food safety problems.  The continuing concerns regarding seafood borne illnesses, public expectations, industry requests, and market trends created a need this system as it is the most effective way to ensure seafood safety.  HACCP relies mostly on industry self-regulation through "preventative maintenance" with only periodic regulatory oversight.

The single most valuable source of electronic information on seafood safety and HACCP can be found on the FDA website.

Who must comply?


Firms either in the U.S. or in a foreign country, handling, storing, preparing, heading, eviscerating, shucking, freezing, changing into different market forms, manufacturing, preserving, packing, labeling, dockside unloading, or holding fish and fishery products.


U.S. owners or consignee at the time of entry into the U.S., or the U.S. agent of the foreign owner at the time of entry.  Foreign processors will be influenced indirectly through requirements for U.S. importers to ensure their suppliers comply with HACCP programs equivalent to that for domestic processors.

Products Involved

Fresh or saltwater fish, crustaceans, all mollusks, alligators, frogs, aquatic turtles, jellyfish, sea cucumbers, sea urchins, other aquatic animal life except mammals and birds, and the roe from these animals, if intended for human consumption.  A fishery product includes fish or shellfish as the characterizing ingredient.


Harvesting or transporting the involved products without otherwise processing, retail operations and practices such as heading, eviscerating, or freezing intended solely to prepare the product for holding on board a harvest vessel.  Note, harvesters and transporters can be influenced indirectly through a processor's product and shipping specifications as related to their HACCP plan.

What is required?

  • Before installing HACCP, existing requirements are:
  • Current good manufacturing practices
  • Sanitary Standard Operating Procedures (SSOP)
  • Related regulations to prevent economic fraud

Written HACCP plans based a hazard analysis for food safety for each location where products are processed, and for each kind of product. 

A written HACCP plan includes:

  • list of food safety hazards likely to occur
  • list of critical control points (CCP)
  • list of the critical limits that must be met at each CCP
  • monitoring procedures for each CCP
  • pre-determined correction action plans
  • list of the verified procedures to assure the HACCP Plan is adequate
  • a record keeping system to document the monitoring of the CCP

Sanitation Control Records for the SSOP

Each processor will maintain sanitation control records that document monitoring and corrections for the conditions and practices during processing.

Training Opportunities

HACCP Course material and relevant publications for establishing an approved HACCP and Sanitation Plan are available from the UF Bookstore.

Upcoming courses

An online Seafood HACCP Alliance Internet Training Course  was developed by the Seafood HACCP Alliance for Training and Education with New York Sea Grant and Cornell University.  A new internet based distance education program that is designed to be equivalent to the first two days of the "live" three-day Alliance training courses.

You can register for the course at any time and complete the course materials at your own pace. 

  • Step 1
    Visit Cornell's Seafood HACCP Website any time to find out about registration, how the course works, and what you will need to complete the Internet course.
  • Step 2
    Complete and submit the registration form and your payment for the course via the Internet, fax, or U.S. mail.
  • Step 3
    When your registration and payment have been processed, you will receive an email message giving you the internet address of the active course site and your own username and password which will allow you to access the site.
  • Step 4
    Work through all 12 course modules at the active course site and submit the "Check your Knowledge" answers for each module via the internet.  Each registered student will be tracked by their unique username and password which will expire in 6 months from the date that their registration is confirmed.
  • Step 5
    When all modules are completed, an e-mail letter from Cornell will be sent to acknowledge that the person who registered for the course has completed the Seafood HACCP Alliance Segment One Internet training course.
  • Step 6
    Register for a second segment one day "live" training session if you need an AFDO Certificate of Course Completion to meet the training requirement in the FDA Seafood HACCP regulation or if you have questions or need additional experience developing a HACCP Plan.