Department of Health and Human Services



The FDA, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, protects the public health by assuring the safety, effectiveness and security of human and veterinary drugs, vaccines and other biological products for human use, and medical devices. The agency also is responsible for the safety and security of our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, dietary supplements, products that give off electronic radiation and for regulating tobacco products.

Role in the Task Force initiative:

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, or FDA, is responsible for ensuring the safety of the food supply in the U.S., both domestic and imported. When it comes to illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, the FDA’s primary contributions center around food safety, science and collaboration. The FDA works to ensure that seafood and all other food in the U.S. is safe, wholesome and properly labeled. The FDA provides regulations, guidance to industry, consultations, Constituent Updates and other forms of communication that promote food safety.  Some of the key programs relevant to the NOC Committee on IUU Fishing and Seafood Fraud include: Seafood Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP). The Fish and Fishery Products Hazards and Controls Guidance helps assist industry to comply with HACCP regulations (found in 21CFR123). The Hazards Guide outlines procedures to assist the seafood industry on how to identify, then properly control, hazards to health while processing seafood (process-related hazards). The Hazards Guide also outlines what potential contaminants may pose a threat to consumers based on the individual species (species-related hazard), and provides potential preventive controls to lessen any identified potential hazard. 

Seafood ListThe FDA also publishes the Seafood List, a guide to acceptable names for seafood sold in interstate commerce, and develops new testing methodologies to help combat seafood fraud, such as the newly developed DNA testing protocols.

The FDA regularly collaborates with federal and state agencies on seafood issues. FDA experts train federal and state agency officials and industry members in inspection techniques and regulations.
The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, passed in 1938, and the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, passed in 2011, are two of the nation’s main food safety laws. The FDA created HACCP regulations, the Seafood List and the seafood “Hazards Guide.”