Maine Vibrio Control Plan Online Annual Training Kohl Kanwit - Director, Bureau of Public Health Maine Department of Marine Resources
Vibrio online annual training In this presentation, you will review basic information about Vibrio bacteria, the current Vibrio Control Plans in Maine and how to write and submit a harvest and/or purchase plan to comply with Department of Marine Resources Chapter 115 regulations. The training outline is as follows: • Vibrio Review • Maine Vibrio Control Plan Review • Making a Good Harvest/Purchase Plan
Bivalve shellfish are filter feeders Bivalve shellfish are species with two shells like clams, oysters and mussels. Watch the video from the Washington State Department of Health that illustrates filter feeding by mussels. https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=2041819217919&video_source=pages_finch_thumbnail_video
The unique risk posed by filter feeders • Because bivalve shellfish are filter feeders, particles in the water are accumulated in their bodies. • Humans then eat the entire animal, including everything that was accumulated through the process of filter feeding. • Humans often eat bivalve shellfish raw or undercooked increasing the risk of foodborne illness.
What is “Vibrio”? Vibrio species are naturally occurring marine bacteria. Some species that can make humans sick include: • Vibrio parahaemolyticus • Vibrio vulnificus • Vibrio cholerae • Vibrio fluvialis • And many more……..
How do shellfish get Vibrio bacteria? • Vibrio bacteria occur normally in the marine environment. • Vibrio bacteria can be suspended in the water or incorporated in the sediment where bivalve shellfish grow. • Bivalve shellfish filter feed and consume Vibrio bacteria along with other food items like phytoplankton.
Vibrio ecology Many environmental factors can affect Vibrio populations and distribution: • Temperature • Salinity • Turbidity • Dissolved oxygen • Phosphorus • Nitrogen
What is the primary factor that enhances the growth of Vibrio? • Temperature is the most important factor. • Vibrio species generally prefer temperatures between 66 ˚F and 90˚F. • Within this range, higher temperatures can enhance the growth of the bacteria in the environment and within the shellfish. • Research showed that bivalve shellfish kept at 50 ˚F could prevent vibrio growth (Cook & Ruple, 1989).
Vibrio bacteria and human health Three kinds of infections are typically associated with vibrio bacteria: • wound infections, • primary septicemia, and • Gastroenteritis. Vibrio infections can be lethal especially for individuals with preexisting health conditions.
Harvest areas currently included in the Maine Vibrio Control Plan • The Damariscotta River • The Upper New Meadows River (The New Meadows Lakes) • There are no other harvest areas currently included in the Maine Vibrio Control Plan
Species of bivalve shellfish included in the Maine Vibrio Control Plan • All oysters: American (also called Eastern) and European (also called Belon) • Hard clams (also called quahogs)
Vibrio Control Plan effective dates Because the abundance of Vibrio is related to temperature, the Vibrio Control Plan is only in effect during the warmest months of the year: May 1 through October 31
Retail sales directly by harvesters Because harvesters are not certified dealers and do not have a requirement to keep bivalve shellfish cold or to maintain records like temperature at receipt and cooler logs, sales of oysters and hard clams from harvesters’ homes are prohibited during the Vibrio control months.
Recreational harvest Because several Vibrio illnesses in Maine were attributed to recreational harvest in recent years, the recreational harvest of oysters and hard clams is prohibited during the Vibrio control months.
Mandatory training Harvesters and primary dealers need to take annual Vibrio training. “Harvester” means anyone taking oysters or hard clams from the Vibrio Control areas, this includes aquaculturists. “Primary dealers” are dealers who purchase oysters and/or hard clams directly from the harvester. The training can be in-person or online. The online training is only for harvesters and primary dealers who have been to in-person training two consecutive years in a row and have had no illnesses linked to their product or enforcement actions related to the Vibrio regulations.
Time limits for product from the Damariscotta River When ambient air temperatures are less than 80 ˚F, harvesters have 5 hours to get the product to a certified dealer and under temperature control (cooling) When ambient air temperatures are greater than 80 ˚F, harvesters have 2 hours to get the product to a certified dealer and under temperature control (cooling) • Harvesters should record the maximum ambient air temperature during the harvest time to determine what time limit applies. • There are no time limits for product harvested in the Upper New Meadows River
Mandatory shading Preventing direct sun on product can help delay the warming process after harvest. Therefore, all oysters and hard clams must be shaded immediately after harvest. Keep in mind that once harvested, the shells of oysters and clams are considered a food contact surface and things like wet, dirty rags or seaweed applied on the shellfish should not be used for shading. An umbrella or other suspended shading device is preferred.
Mandatory icing for product from the Upper New Meadows River The unique aspect of the Upper New Meadows River hard clam fishery requires onboard icing to ensure product is cooled quickly. • Harvesters are encouraged to use an ice slurry to cool product quickly then maintain the temperature with coolers and ice. • There is no requirement for onboard icing in the Damariscotta River.
Reporting of violations The Vibrio Control Plans are designed to protect public health and to ensure the industry can operate safely. Violations of the Vibrio Control Plans can lead to illnesses and potentially to closure of the harvest areas for long periods of time.
Mandatory Harvest and/or Purchase Plan A harvest and/or purchase plan must be submitted to DMR before March 1st annually. The form can be found on the DMR website. The plan shall include the following elements: • Describe the harvest process • Temperature monitoring strategy • Cooling processes • Product handling • Conveyance (transportation) methods
Writing your plan • Review DMR Chapter 115 and make sure you understand the regulations. (Question 1). Access to the DMR Regulations can be found on the DMR homepage. • Attend mandatory training or complete online training. (Question 2) • Think about what you are doing, are you the harvester, the dealer or both? (Question 3) • Call or email DMR with questions, we are happy to help. • Start early so you have an approved plan by May 1st when the Vibrio Control Plan takes effect.
Writing your plan continued • Harvest plan (Question 4) should include everything about how you are minimizing risk of Vibrio, if you leave product in the water say that, if you ice, make sure you say with potable water and a drained container (Question 6) • How are you shading? • How quickly are you getting it to the dealer? • If you are both a harvester and a dealer describe how you will use wet storage if you have that option. • If you are an aquacultureist describe how you will use resubmergance.
Maximum air temperatures • How hot did it get during harvest period? • Record the maximum air temperature and use that as guide for how long you have to get product to dealer (Question 5) • Dealers should be getting product to 50˚F as quickly as possible to prevent the growth of Vibrio within the shellfish. • How are you providing documentation (time of harvest and max temp) to dealer (Question 7)
Tracking lots • Describe how are you identifying separate lots that might require different treatments (Question 8).
Primary dealers • How are you receiving product, what do you look for? (Question 9) • How quickly do you cool to 50˚F? Describe the process. (Question 10) • Dealers should always prevent product that is received prechilled from harvesters from rewarming at the dealership.
When things don’t go according to plan • Make sure you address in your plan what happens when things go wrong. Do you destroy the product, can you resubmergance or wet store the product? • Harvesters should talk to their dealers about the dealer’s options and plan when things go wrong.
Please use what you have learned in this presentation to complete the Vibrio Control Plan quiz. Results will be sent directly to DMR staff. Once you have successfully completed the quiz and submitted a harvest and/or purchase plan to DMR you will be sent a certification. Thank you for your commitment to keeping Maine shellfish safe.