From sea to shining sea, the seafood that ends up on your plate goes through an intricate monitoring process to ensure your safety. Naturally, certain types of fish and shellfish contain toxins that can be deadly to humans. Since those toxins only multiply at the time of death, it’s crucial that everyone in the seafood supply chain handles product with the upmost care to prevent illness or even death.
From the moment of the catch and throughout all stages of processing, the temperature must be closely monitored. Fishermen are the first and most critical link in preventing toxins from forming. However, fishermen are exempt from seafood HACCP regulations, making it the processors job to ensure the catch has been harvested and handled for safe consumption once off-loaded.
Upon receipt, the primary processor should obtain harvest vessel records to see if the fishermen used the proper chilling practices throughout the trip. Just these documents will not suffice though, processors should also take the internal temperature of at least 12 of the product at random.
Here are some temperature recommendations for processors, however, they can differ depending on air and seawater temperatures.
During transit and storage, the product should always be maintained at 40 °F or below, once that threshold is breached bacteria starts to grow. If the transit time and temperature is above 40 °F and exceeds four hours, corrections actions must be taken.
When it comes to processing and cooking, it’s important to periodically monitor and record the time and temperature of the product. Along with monitoring ambient and internal temperature, processors must keep track of how long the product is exposed to unrefrigerated conditions above 50 °F. If this cumulative processing temperature and time exceeds the limits outlined in the seafood HACCP regulations, corrective actions must be taken and the process modified.
Data loggers are critical tools for food processors to monitor the temperature of the product throughout all steps of processing. But that’s not all, data loggers are also needed to conduct heat penetration studies and for validating cooking cycles. If time and temperature abuse of the product occurs anytime throughout processing, pathogens and toxins can grow to unsafe levels putting consumers at risk.
MadgeTech offers a complete line of data loggers specifically for seafood processing. An industry top-seller, the HiTemp140 is a high temperature data logger that can be used to monitor the internal temperature during cooking, smoking and canning. Available in variety of probes lengths, the HiTemp140 series can accommodate seafood of all shapes and sizes. To view the list of data loggers to assist throughout production, click here.