One Hundred Years of Shellfish Regulation
Remmer, Sharon M.
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CitationOne Hundred Years of Shellfish Regulation (1998 Third Year Paper)
AbstractShellfish, as a food category. has a distinctive history of regulation. Unlike meat and poultry, shellfish has never been subject to 100% mandatory product inspection by the federal government. This absence of inspection does not reflect a regulatory decision that shellfish pose little risk to humans. On the contrary-- the available statistics, although incomplete, indicate that seafood illness made up about 5% of all foodborne illness cases between 1978 and 1984: More importantly. 53% of these seafood illness cases were caused by molluscan shellfish. The chance of contracting illness from finfish is only one in five million, but a serving of shellfish presents a risk of one in 250. Although illness can be caused by either biological pathogens or chemical contaminants in seafood, it is usually the naturally occurring pathogens that are responsible for human illness. Pathogens "enter water from domestic sewage or pass from humans or other warm-blooded animals to seafood during subsequent handling." To prevent contamination, then. regulation must address both the quality of the harvesting beds and the subsequent handling of shellfish.
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