In order to ensure all South Australian seafood products are safe for consumers, the Government and Industry have been developing legislative guidelines and procedures. In 2004 the Primary Producers (Food Safety Schemes) Act was passed. This legislation enables the Government in partnership with Industry to develop standards for primary production and processing areas with significant risk.
Along with the Citrus, Dairy and Meat Industries, the Seafood Industry was considered to have some significant risks. The Seafood Regulations 2006 were passed and came into force on the 1st of July 2006.
The Seafood Food Safety Scheme is primarily for Bivalve Molluscs. Bivalve Molluscs, including cockles, oysters and mussels have a higher food contamination risk than other types of seafood because they are filter feeders. This means that they filter the water and everything contained in it. Sometimes the water has high abundances of naturally occurring bacteria and pathogens, which can make people sick.
The SA Shellfish Quality Assurance Program (SASQAP) has been implemented to ensure that seafood consumers are safe from these bacteria and pathogens. SASQAP operates all year for both Aquaculture and Wild Caught molluscs. The water and produce harvested from that water are tested and only products within the safety guidelines are available for sale to consumers.
Fish have a much lower risk of food contamination and therefore do not require water and product testing. However, Food Safety Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) has developed National Guidelines and the SA Government and Industry are currently developing a standard for voluntary adoption to ensure the food safety of SA fish.
Australian Seafood is world renowned as a premium quality product. Our seafood is highly sought after throughout Asia, including the exclusive Japanese market. The Australian Seafood Industry is also successfully developing markets in the UK, US and Europe.
The SA Seafood Industry is also committed to providing a premium quality product. Currently some sectors of the Industry are developing Quality Assurance Guidelines. Other fisheries have already developed and implemented Quality Assurance requirements. These fisheries are successfully meeting strict export requirements for markets in the European Union and Japan.