Oyster food safety

Oysters are a widely consumed food. Businesses dealing with oysters have a responsibility to make sure that the end product is safe and suitable to eat.

There are a number of issues that are of potential significance to food safety in the industry:

  • contamination from toxins, viruses or heavy metals
  • inadequate temperature control, hygiene or premises that may result in contamination and growth of pathogens
  • ensuring staff have the skills and knowledge about food safety practices necessary for the work that they undertake
  • the need for traceability to mitigate food safety impacts.

About the scheme

The food safety scheme for oysters commenced on 1 July 2009 with the introduction of the Food Production (Safety) Regulation 2014.

The scheme implements the National Standard for Primary Production and Processing of Seafood. The scheme sets out the basic food safety requirements for the primary production and processing of all seafood.

Open/closed status of harvest areas

Shellfish harvest areas may temporarily close for a number of reasons, including localised rainfall that can lead to runoff and can pollute the estuary containing the shellfish.

Since shellfish are filter feeders they can accumulate this pollution.

SFPQ works with the shellfish industry to close harvest areas when necessary and re-open them when microbiological testing indicates that the estuaries have become clean again and the shellfish have been given adequate time to purge themselves of all contaminants.

Got a question for the Safe Food Team?

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