National Shellfish Sanitation Program mandates that shellfish must be cooled to 50°F within 10 hours of harvesting and transported at or below this temperature.
Individual shipments to consumers or trade partners must be monitored with a time and temperature indicator (TTI) to comply with the regulations as part of a company’s HACCP protocols – with full audit trail documentation across the cold chain; from harvesting, processing, packaging and distribution.
Bacterial growth increases when shellfish are exposed to temperatures above 50°F but consumption is safe subject to excursion times.
Island Creek uses FEDEX as a distribution partner for online consumer delivery, including some of the Direct to Chef orders. Customer consignments are shipped in specially manufactured cardboard carriers with frozen gel pack inserts to help maintain core product temperature below 50°F during transit.
However, a delay in transit or repeat exposure to excessive ambient air temperatures when truck doors are opened can affect the integrity of the cold chain. Island Creek recognized that they had room to tighten their systems and extend quality management, even once product is handed to the FEDEX overnight delivery teams – which can sometimes take 2 days.
If a customer were to become ill as a result of consuming unsafe oysters, regulations require Island Creek to prove they have maintained temperature controls across the supply chain.