The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is currently finalizing rules for irradiation of molluscan shellfish and evaluating petitions to allow the irradiation of crustacean shellfish. Irradiated oysters will have significant benefits to consumers, the oyster industry and public health because irradiation is effective against Vibrio vulnificus. Vibrio vulnificus occurs naturally in Gulf waters and cannot be controlled through normal safeguards such as sanitary surveys of shellfish harvesting areas. Vibrio infection is a special concern for raw oyster consumers who may unknowingly have underlying liver disease or be immuno-compromised. The U.S. General Accounting Office has issued a report that is critical of current efforts to prevent Vibrio infection among consumers of raw shellfish.
FTSI’s irradiation process takes only minutes to pass gamma rays through crustaceans and oysters. Nothing is retained in the crustaceans and oysters, the process cannot make the products radioactive and the temperature of the crustaceans and oysters is maintained. University researchers have found that a minimum dosage of 0.6 KGray effectively controls Vibrio Vulnificus in oysters and our goal is to use this minimum dose. The actual dosage used will be based on the needs of the customer and will be verified for each lot.
FTSI has discussed our plans to irradiate oysters with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. They inform us that once the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approves the process, the only requirement for licensed shellfish dealers will be for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to approve the dealer’s revised HACCP plan which describes the addition of the irradiation process. If you are a licensed shellfish dealer interested in working with FTSI to revise your HACCP plan or to plan the logistics of irradiating your oysters, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.