The FDA's Newest Plan

by Suzanne Kantra Kirschner

A food inspection plan that prevented astronauts from getting sick on the Apollo missions may reduce your risk of getting sick from tainted seafood here on earth.

This year the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will finalize a plan called Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP). Like the program for the astronauts, HACCP emphasizes hazard prevention. It pinpoints ways in which seafood can become contaminated-from improper refrigeration when fish are first caught to fluctuating temperatures in the vehicle that brings the fish to your grocer-and suggests ways of controlling or eliminating that risk. The FDA has proposed that seafood companies use HACCP to evaluate their own operations for potential hazards and take steps to avoid them by the end of 1996.

With the plan in place, the FDA expects an 18 to 56 percent reduction in the number of seafood-related illnesses each year, which it estimates at 33,035.

Ocean Planet Exhibition Floorplan

gene carl feldman ( (301) 286-9428
Judith Gradwohl, Smithsonian Institution (Curator/Ocean Planet)