FDA issues ciguatera guidance for seafood processors

| November 26, 2013

Reef fishThe US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has published final guidance for the seafood processing industry on minimising the risk of ciguatera fish poisoning (CFP) from reef fish such as grouper, amberjack, snapper and barracuda.

The new guidance focuses on responsible sourcing to avoid purchasing reef fish taken from harvest locations where ciguatera is known to occur. It complements existing FDA advice contained in the Fish and Fishery Products Hazards and Controls Guidance (2011) and also identifies two species of lionfish as additional reef fish that carry a risk of CFP.

CFP is caused by consuming fish that have been feeding on toxic marine algae or on other fish that contain algal toxins. The toxins accumulate in the flesh of reef fish and the highest levels are found in larger predatory fish. The symptoms of CFP are varied and include neurological, gastrointestinal and cardiovascular effects.

A copy of the new FDA guidance can be found here and Food Safety Watch has also produced a free ciguatera factsheet.

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