The Interstate Shellfish Sanitation Conference (ISSC) was formed in 1982 to foster and promote shellfish sanitation through the cooperation of state and federal control agencies, the shellfish industry, and the academic community. To achieve this purpose the ISSC:
- Adopts uniform procedures, incorporated into an Interstate Shellfish Sanitation Program, and implemented by all shellfish control agencies;
- Gives state shellfish programs current and comprehensive sanitation guidelines to regulate the harvesting, processing, and shipping of shellfish;
- Provides a forum for shellfish control agencies, the shellfish industry, and academic community to resolve major issues concerning shellfish sanitation;
- Informs all interested parties of recent developments in shellfish sanitation and other major issues of concern through the use of news media, publications, regional and national meetings, internet, and by working closely with academic institutions and trade associations.
The ISSC promotes cooperation and trust among shellfish control agencies, the shellfish industry, and consumers of shellfish; and insures the safety of shellfish products consumed in the United States.
Anyone interested in shellfish sanitation is encouraged to participate in the ISSC. The Conference holds an annual meeting, attended by representatives of state shellfish control agencies from both producing and non-producing states, federal agencies, industry, and academic institutions.
Membership of the ISSC Executive Board includes 6 representatives from producing state shellfish control agencies, 3 representatives from non-producing state shellfish control agencies, 6 industry representatives, one member each from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (USFDA), the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), and a non-voting representative from each of three task forces with ISSC.
The ISSC task forces review issues submitted by Conference participants and prepare recommendations for consideration by the Conference’s voting delegates. There are three task forces: Growing Areas, Processing and Distribution, and Administration. Committees are often appointed to assist task forces in developing recommendations. Delegates from each state shellfish control agency vote on recommendations submitted by the task forces.
Annual meetings focus on issues of importance to shellfish sanitation. Issues for Conference consideration are submitted to the Program Chairman 90 days prior to the annual meeting. All new issues are mailed to Conference membership for review prior to the annual meeting.
The demand for shellfish as a food source is increasing rapidly as pristine areas, suitable for shellfish production, are being threatened by coastal development. Keeping pace with rapid environmental and market changes is a constant challenge for those associated with shellfish sanitation. Involvement of state and federal agencies, the shellfish industry, and academic interests is essential to the maintenance of safe and healthy shellfish products for the consumer. The ISSC provides the forum for this involvement.