Research & Development
for bivalve dispatch and purification centres
Background What is HACCP?
World bivalve production and consumption HACCP stands for 'Hazard Analysis Critical
has increased significantly in recent years, Control Point'. It is an internationally
from a combined total for wild catch and recognised and recommended system of
aquaculture of 10.7 million tonnes in 1999 to food safety management. It focuses on
14 million tonnes in 2006 (FAO). identifying the 'critical points' in a process
where food safety problems (or 'hazards')
It is recognised that there are a number of
could arise and putting steps in place to
potential food safety issue associated with
prevent things going wrong, often referred to
bivalves. Their natural habitat and feeding
as 'controlling hazards'.
methods can lead to the accumulation of
toxins in the animals themselves. Several Basic principles of HACCP:
species of bivalves are preferably consumed • Identify potential hazards during all
live or raw (oysters) or lightly cooked stages of depuration that must be
(mussels). This has the potential to make prevented, eliminated or reduced to
them a high risk food product requiring proper acceptable levels.
control measures to eliminate or reduce to • Determine the critical points at which
acceptable levels potential biological, control is essential to prevent,
chemical and physical hazards. eliminate or reduce risks to
Any food business operator, handling or acceptable levels.
supplying live bivalves is required by law to • Establish critical limits.
put in place, implement and maintain • Establish monitoring procedures.
permanent food safety management • Establish corrective actions.
procedures based on HACCP principles. • Establish procedures to verify
required measures have happened.
This guidance note summarises the key
• Create documents and records to
HACCP principles and how they apply to
demonstrate effective application.
bivalve dispatch and purification centres.
2 FS35 – 0909 September 2009 HACCP guidelines for bivalve dispatch and purification centres
1. Receipt of molluscs
Management awareness and commitment is
necessary for the implementation of an
effective HACCP system but this does not 2. Storage of molluscs
need to be an onerous task.
Simply walk through the whole process of 3. Grade/weigh and wash molluscs
receiving, packing and/or purifying the
bivalves and then sending to market and
5. Load molluscs into purification containers or tanks
write it all down.
A diagram or flow chart may help to cover:
6. Fill purification system with clean seawater
• Receive shellfish and record origin
• Wash, sort and discard poor quality or 7. Mollusc purification Storage - Category "A"
• Evaluate and record quality, allocate 8. Drainage of purification system
• Purify 9. Remove molluscs from purification tanks or containers
• Drain down, wash, de-clump if
needed and pack 10. Wash/declump purified molluscs
• Store and send to market.
11. Weigh/Pack/bag and label molluscs
The basic hazards facing any business that
handles live bivalves destined for human
12. Brief rewatering or immersed
13. Store packed molluscs
consumption are: contaminants located within storage in clean seawater.
the flesh and intravalvular fluid of harvested
animals; contaminated water abstracted from 14. Dispatch of molluscs
the sea and used subsequently for washing,
immersion or purification; contamination
Flow diagram for bivalve purification, re-
during the handling process and inadequate
watering and conditioning
or compromised purification processes.
3 FS35 – 0909 September 2009 HACCP guidelines for bivalve dispatch and purification centres
Critical Control Points
The classification of a hazard as a Critical Control Point (CCP) is subject to a lot of discussion.
Essentially if the hazard is not controlled, and as a consequence the food product is compromised
or the consumer may suffer, it is a CCP. The table below looks at three potential hazards and the
course of action to be adopted:
Process Hazards Controls C Critical limits Monitoring Corrective
step C procedures actions
Receipt of Viral, gross, bacterial, Set values. Y Less than 4,600 Identify Reject any
bivalves algal toxin, chemical Obtain colony forming source of supplies without
or physical bivalves from units of E.coli. each batch. appropriate
contamination which approved This is to be registration
is unlikely to be sources only. checked forms or areas
removed during Batches to and subject to a
subsequent sorting, be supplied recorded on closure order.
washing or with required Form QC 1.
Grading Reincorporation of Total clean Y No shells Pre-grading Re-clean any
un-purified animals down present in and de- dirty equipment.
with purified ones by between grading and de- clumping Check/relay/
using grading and batches of clumping hygiene reject batch.
declumping handling equipment audit of
machinery for both equipment. between machinery.
pre and post batches. Appropriate
depuration work that QC form
has not been cleaned filled in.
Fill The cloudiness or Set minimum Y Turbidity level Supervisor Stop filling tanks
purification haziness (turbidity) is turbidity to remain less to check with water.
system a measurement of levels. than 15 NTU’s. and record Empty system
with clean the suspended solids results from and clean down.
seawater in the seawater. This turbidity Refill using filter
‘shades’ the UV light meter on or settling tank
and results in QC Form. to remove
sterilisation of the
4 FS35 – 0909 September 2009 HACCP guidelines for bivalve dispatch and purification centres
To find out more Seafish has developed a generic HACCP
Good Manufacturing Practice Guidelines - table for live bivalves to help businesses
bivalves comply. It is not a requirement for businesses
to prepare a full blown HACCP table, as
Seafish has produced a workbook to assist
shown in this document, however it may be
live bivalve shellfish operators in producing a
useful to use some parts of it. This file has
high quality, safer live bivalve in compliance
not been protected to allow businesses to
with legal obligations. It is designed as an
adapt this generic table to their own particular
every day guide to be used in the production
needs. It is also important to involve the local
environment, onboard the harvesting vessel
Environmental Health Officer early on in the
of foreshore. It can be used for:
process of writing a HACCP table.
• Good The generic table can be downloaded from:
practice and legal e_Bivalve_HACCP_Forms.pdf
Training programmes for purification
• On the job and centres
induction training. Seafish offers specific live bivalve training
programmes in HACCP (half day), Centre
Operations (half day) and Centre
Management (two days). For more
information on these and other courses
consult the Seafish website:
• The workbook can be downloaded from: www.seafish/org/B2B or email:
For further information contact:
Martin Pyke T: 01964 503024
The regulation governing the hygiene of E: email@example.com
foodstuffs is EU/852/2004, effective January
Origin Way, Europarc, Grimsby DN37 9TZ
t: 01472 252300 f: 01472 268792
e: firstname.lastname@example.org w: www.seafish.org SIN: http://sin.seafish.org
supporting the seafood industry for a sustainable, profitable future