Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Passed House amended (10/24/1990)

Safe Seafood Act of 1990 - Title I: Seafood Safety Program - Directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to issue regulations establishing a national shellfish safety program to protect public health by ensuring the safety of shellfish. Requires the program to include: (1) standards for the growing, harvesting, handling, processing, and shipping of shellfish; (2) water quality standards; (3) procedures for classifying shellfish harvesting areas subject to State jurisdiction as fit or unfit; (4) procedures regarding closure of harvesting areas; (5) a system for tracking shellfish in commerce; and (6) a system for maintaining a list of certified shellfish shippers.

Allows a State to submit to the Secretary of HHS, for approval under specified criteria, a proposed State shellfish safety program. Requires the Secretary to review at least annually each State's program with regard to whether the program and its implementation continue to meet approval requirements.

Directs the Secretary of HHS to establish, maintain, and publish a list of shellfish shippers that are certified under this Act by a State or a foreign country. Allows the Secretary to exclude a shipper from a list that is certified by a State if the shipper is not in compliance with an approved State program, a reciprocal agreement, or any Federal law.

Prohibits entering, or withdrawing from warehouse for consumption, shellfish unless it: (1) complies with all U.S. shellfish standards and requirements; (2) is marked as to the country of origin; and (3) the Secretary has certified the country of origin.

Authorizes the Secretary of HHS to enter into an agreement with a country which has a shellfish safety program at least equivalent to the program under this Act providing for: (1) verification by the Secretary and the Secretary of Commerce to assure continued protection by the foreign program; (2) reciprocity regarding imports and exports between the United States and that country; and (3) a system for certification by the country of shellfish shippers. Directs the Secretary, when the agreement is in force, to certify the country. Requires review of the certificate at least every three years.

Directs the Secretary of Commerce, if no practicable alternative exists for protecting the public health, to issue regulations establishing standards concerning the handling, storage, and transportation of fish and fish products on board fishing vessels and fish tender vessels.

Directs the Secretary of Commerce to establish for waters under Federal jurisdiction a system to monitor and classify growing and harvesting areas from which originate, or can reasonably be expected to originate, significant quantities of shellfish: (1) which do not meet the standards under this title; or (2) the consumption of which pose a threat to public health. Provides for closure or restriction of harvesting in such areas on a finding of such conditions by the Secretary of HHS or the Secretary of Commerce, or on the request of the Secretary of HHS.

Directs the Secretary of HHS, if the consumption of a species of fish harvested in State waters would pose a threat to human health, to request the State to close or otherwise restrict the area.

Deems shellfish adulterated for purposes of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA) if it is: (1) grown, harvested, or processed in a State without an approved program, or an uncertified country; (2) grown or harvested in closed or restricted waters; or (3) transported by an uncertified shipper.

Deems fish to be adulterated for purposes of the FDCA if it is: (1) harvested in closed or restricted waters; or (2) handled, stored, or transported on a fishing vessel or a fish tender vessel that is in violation of regulations under this Act.

Directs the Secretary of HHS and the Secretary of Commerce to jointly design and implement a national consumer education program on fish products.

Authorizes the Secretary of HHS to conduct, directly or through grants or contracts, research and demonstrations to assist the Secretary in implementing the amendments made by this Act.

Directs the Secretary of Commerce to establish a five-year shellfish indicator research program to develop a system of classification of shellfish growing waters based upon the latest technological advancements in microbiology and epidemiological methods. Sets forth minimum elements of the the program. Authorizes the Secretary to enter into contracts to carry out the program.

Directs the Secretary of HHS to establish, through the Centers for Disease Control, an active surveillance system to provide for an estimate of the frequency of human disease in the United States associated with the consumption of fish, shellfish, and fish products.

Title II: Amendments to Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act - Amends the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA) to direct the Secretary of HHS to establish standards for chemical and microbiological contaminants, parasites, and toxins (CPTs) to assure that fish, shellfish, and fish products (FSFPs) are safe for human consumption. Allows the standards to include indicators, including indicator organisms, from which it may reasonably be inferred that a CPT is present in FSFPs. Deems FSFPs with CPTs exceeding the standard to be adulterated under the FDCA.

Directs the Secretary of HHS to contract with the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) for, and requires NAS to prepare, a report: (1) identifying CPTs which are likely to be found in FSFPs and which are likely to cause FSFPs to be unsafe for human consumption; and (2) recommend priorities for the development of the standards.

Authorizes the Secretary of HHS to require any person who owns or operates a facility engaged in the processing of FSFPs to recall any product which is in violation of provisions of this Act if there is a reasonable probability that it will cause a significant, adverse health consequence or death. Directs the Secretary of HHS to require such persons to adopt methods by which FSFPs may be traced in connection with a recall order.

Provides for civil penalties for violations of provisions of this Act.

Title III: Seafood Inspection - Directs the President to submit to the Congress a proposed comprehensive program for inspecting all fish products sold in commerce, including recommendations for legislation or a schedule for the implementation of the program by regulation.

Sets forth the required features of the program, including: (1) frequent and random unannounced inspections of processing facilities; (2) certification of foreign inspection programs and intensive inspections at ports of entry; (3) annual registration and certification of processors and importers; (4) protection against economic fraud; and (5) funding mechanisms for the provision of these services.

Provides whistleblower protection, including allowing refusal to work to avoid a violation of law or a substantial and specific danger to the public, the employee, or other workers.

Amends the FDCA with respect to adulterated food which has a poisonous or deleterious substance which has not been added. Amends the Federal Meat Inspection Act, the Poultry Products Inspection Act, and the Egg Products Inspection Act to make similar changes.