The Commercial Seafood Program is the regulatory and enforcement agency for all seafood products produced and processed in Louisiana. All products must adhere to quality standards set forth in the Louisiana Sanitary Code and the National Shellfish Sanitation Program (NSSP). The NSSP is the federal/state cooperative program recognized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) and the Interstate Shellfish Sanitation Conference (ISSC) for the sanitary control of shellfish produced and sold for human consumption. All oyster related facilities must adhere to the NSSP.
Louisiana is one of the United States' largest producer of seafood. Louisiana seafood is shipped around the world. Registered sanitarians with the Louisiana Department of Health Commercial Seafood program routinely inspect the state's approximately 350 seafood processing plants to ensure only safe product reaches the market.
- In Louisiana, there are approximately 350 permitted and inspected wholesale seafood processors/distributors.
- Inspections are performed on oyster processors and dealers utilizing the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) concept.
- Louisiana is one of the nation's top producers of oysters, crabs, shrimp and crawfish.
For more information contact 225-342-7653
DHH's Seafood Safety Response to the April 20, 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill
At the beginning of the oil spill LDH sampled seafood (fish, shrimp and crab) to create a baseline. This baseline is used to ensure the safety of seafood in the future.
Facts: Prior to oil spill
Commercial Seafood Program in Economic Development
- One of every 70 jobs in Louisiana can be attributed to commercial fisheries*.
- Earnings from commercial fisheries amount to approximately $385 million*.
- Louisiana commercial fishermen have supplied the United States with seafood for centuries.
- Louisiana produces oysters, shrimp, crab, crawfish and alligator.
- In 2006, approximately $2.4 billion was the economic effect of commercial seafood (including: freshwater finfish, marine finfish, freshwater shellfish, marine shellfish) in Louisiana.
- With annual retail, import and export sales in excess of $2 billion, Louisiana seafood is important to our state's economy, which produced 26,915 jobs* for commercial seafood alone.
* The Economic Benefits of Fisheries, Wildlife and Boating Resources in the State of Louisiana (May 10, 2008). Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.
Following the oil spill, 10 LDH registered sanitarians attended seafood sensory training at the International Food Protection Training Institute. This federal sensory training program provided the skills to detect tainted seafood by smell. LDH sanitarians are using this skill in response to the BP oil spill to determine whether seafood has been impacted by oil. These skills are critical in helping Louisiana determine whether to open or close molluscan shellfish harvest areas. A special National Marine Fisheries Services/Food and Drug Administration Sensory Expert Team trained food safety professionals from the Gulf States, including Louisiana. This training is a partnership of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association's National Marine Fisheries Services and the USFDA.
Sanitarians do not conduct sensory testing on a routine basis, but are trained to use sensory testing as needed in future health emergency situations.
Oil Spill Resources