In response to a report issued yesterday by the Government Accounting Office, addressing the use of the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) system by the seafood industry, Dane Bernard, Vice President of Food Safety Programs for the National Food Processors Association (NFPA), made the following comments:

"This report is not a finding of fundamental food safety problems associated with seafood.  In fact, the seafood industry has an excellent safety record.  Rather, the report is an attempt to measure the extent to which the seafood industry is in compliance with FDA's requirements, and to note which segments of the industry have the furthest to go in fully implementing the use of HACCP.

"It is important to point out that the Food and Drug Administration has set the bar very high for compliance with seafood HACCP regulations.  Smaller companies in particular have been faced with a challenge in understanding and then meeting the complex HACCP requirements established by FDA.  Nonetheless, consumers should know that the safety of the seafood supply is not in doubt..

"Speeding the rate at which smaller seafood companies fully implement HACCP is a resources issue, both for those companies and for FDA.  The companies must devote time and funds; conversely, FDA needs additional resources to work with companies to review these plans.

"NFPA has long supported the use of HACCP by the food industry, and we have worked with the industry - including seafood companies - to develop and implement HACCP plans.  The Food and Drug Administration has noted that the number of companies in compliance with the Agency's HACCP requirements has improved greatly.  NFPA will continue to cooperate fully in these efforts.  Moreover, NFPA will continue to advocate additional funding for FDA to work with the seafood industry on HACCP implementation to ensure that science is the underpinning for all continuing food safety advancements."

NFPA is the voice of the $460 billion food processing industry on scientific and public policy issues involving food safety, nutrition, technical and regulatory matters and consumer affairs. 

For more information on this issue, contact Timothy Willard, NFPA's Vice President of Communications, at (202) 637-8060, or visit NFPA's Website at www.nfpa-food.org.