Great Lakes fishers process safe seafood products with Seafood HACCP training

Long-standing partnership makes training possible for the region’s tribal, state, and local fish producers.

Four participants are gathered around a table reviewing paperwork and one is writing on a large paper tablet as they review a case study in their training class. Photo: Laurie White, GLIFWC
Participants work together on a Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point plan case study during the Brimley, Mich., training. Photo: Laurie White, GLIFWC

Food safety is always an important concern for any consumer. Commercial fish producers, including those in the Great Lakes region, who make fish products are required by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration take a federal food safety training called Seafood Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP). This training requires seafood processors to do a careful examination of their entire production process and then anticipate potential problems in their production, identify the sources of hazards, and take corrective action to eliminate or reduce any risks. The goal of a Seafood HACCP plan is to ensure the safety of seafood products throughout the supply chain for the safety of the consumer.

A long-standing partnership

Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission’s (GLIFWC) has partnered for more than 25 years with Michigan State University Extension and Michigan Sea Grant to develop and offer training programs for the region’s tribal, state, and local fish producers.

Through many years of cooperative programming, the expertise and knowledge of Jim Thannum, GLIFWC’s director of planning and development and Ron Kinnunen, MSU Extension agent, were an invaluable asset to the commercial fishing industries in the Great Lakes region. That partnership has continued through MSU’s Lauren Jescovitch and Laura White, GLIFWC’s Traditional Foods Grant Project manager who offered two HACCP trainings in 2022. Thirty participants attended the in-person trainings. Of these, six of the eleven GLIFWC member tribes were represented as well as Oneida Nation, Grand Traverse Band, Little River Band, and Indian Health Services.

Hands-on experience

During one training, Red Cliff Fish Company was generous enough to allow participants to tour their facility and participate in hands-on practical exercises in their new processing facility. They learned about standard sanitation operating procedures and prepared a proper bleach solution by using testing equipment under these standards. Next, they learned how to use a salometer and calculate the required water phase salt content to make a brine for the amount of fish a facility is planning to smoke. Also, participants worked on thermometer calibration through boiling points and freezing points. This outing helped them determine where critical control points may occur in their own processing steps and experience a hands-on approach to potential corrective actions in their future HACCP plans.

students presenting during bayfield training (2)
Participants present on their group’s HACCP plan case study during the Bayfield, Wis., training session. Photo: Lauren Jescovitch, Michigan Sea Grant

Are you a fish producer?

To determine if your business needs a Seafood HACCP plan, check out the dichotomous key for Michigan regulations from the article When do you need Seafood HACCP certification? HACCP training is a two- or three-day certification course focusing on seafood safety and developing plans to make sure seafood processors sell a safe, clean, and healthy product. To read more about Seafood HACCP, visit the Seafood HACCP Alliance website.

Michigan Sea Grant helps to foster economic growth and protect Michigan’s coastal, Great Lakes resources through education, research and outreach. A collaborative effort of the University of Michigan and Michigan State University and its MSU Extension, Michigan Sea Grant is part of the NOAA-National Sea Grant network of 34 university-based programs.

This article was prepared by Michigan Sea Grant under award NA180AR4170102 from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce through the Regents of the University of Michigan. The statement, findings, conclusions, and recommendations are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Department of Commerce, or the Regents of the University of Michigan.

Did you find this article useful?