2007-2009 Subcommittee: Determination of Cooking Parameters for Safe Seafood for Consumers
- Mr. Spencer Garrett, Working Group Chair
- Dr. Scott Brooks
- Dr. Walt Hill
- Dr. Michael Jahncke
- Dr. Lee-Ann Jaykus
- Dr. Joseph Madden
- Ms. Angela Ruple
- Dr. John Sofos
- Ms. Jenny Scott
Background and Work Charge
Raw seafood can be contaminated with pathogens from various sources including the environment, uncertified waters and from insanitary practices in food facilities and consumer homes. Seafood cookbooks generally recommend that seafood not be overcooked. Seafood products are consumed raw, lightly cooked, partially cooked (seared on the outside and rare on the inside) or thoroughly cooked. Consumers need clear guidance on what temperature/time needs to be attained during cooking to ensure safe seafood.
Microbiological pathogens of concern may include Vibrio spp., Salmonella spp., Listeria monocytogenes and Staphylococcus aureus. Viruses may also be present in seafood harvested from uncertified waters or as a result of improper employee food handling practices. In addition, some species of seafood may carry parasites.
The subcommittee should address all bacterial, viral and parasitic hazards for appropriate seafood products, including finfish, crustaceans, and molluscan shellfish.
Charge to the Subcommittee
The charge to the subcommittee is to determine the minimal requirements for achieving microbiologically safe cooked seafood and associated methods for objective measurement. The subcommittee should assess all pathogens of concern (bacteria, viruses, and parasites), associated heat-labile toxins, if applicable, and seafood cooking methods that may be used by consumers. The information developed by the subcommittee will be used by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to develop consumer messages on the cooking parameters necessary to ensure the safety of seafood.
The questions to be addressed are:
- What pathogens and parasites are of concern in seafood purchased by consumers?
- Do cooking methods differ in their ability to eliminate the identified organisms?
- Do the cooking requirements differ by type of seafood, e.g. finfish, molluscan shellfish, or crustacean?
- What effect, if any, does the condition of the seafood when purchased - raw, cooked, frozen, have on the cooking treatment required?
- Is there a single temperature that will ensure safe seafood?
- Are there other consumer methods of preparing seafood that need to be addressed? For example, some consumers believe that the lime juice used in ceviche will "cook" the product.
- Should consumer advice vary based on any susceptible at-risk populations?