Alaska Seafood School moves online in response to COVID-19

In May, Alaska Sea Grant conducted its first ever fully-online Seafood Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) certification class. This class satisfies the training requirement of the US HACCP regulation, instituted in 1997 to make sure the seafood people purchase in stores or eat in restaurants is as safe as possible.

Assuring seafood safety requires monitoring of all seafood processing operations. HACCP certification is mandatory for all processors in Alaska, even those who sell their product only in-state.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in-person HACCP classes had been cancelled since mid-March. The Association for Food and Drug Officials (AFDO), which is the HACCP seafood training sanctioning body, granted temporary permission to hold these essential classes online through the end of 2020. The AFDO created a protocol for the online class, and each class plan has to receive agency approval. 

Chris Sannito lays out fillets on a tray
Alaska Sea Grant’s HACCP classes are lead by seafood technology specialist Chris Sannito.
Photo by Deborah Mercy/Alaska Sea Grant.

Processors from across Alaska took advantage of Alaska Sea Grant’s first online offering. “The Zoom platform worked well for the class and allowed for group exercises to be conducted just as an in-person class” said Chris Sannito, Alaska Sea Grant seafood technology specialist and HACCP instructor.  “We had some great help from our staff that made the online class run smoothly,” added Sannito. “We plan to offer more of these online HACCP classes this fall.”

The seafood industry is the largest private employer in Alaska. Alaska Sea Grant, through the Alaska Seafood School, offers classes and workshops on seafood safety, quality control, product development, business and marketing operations, leadership training, and other topics. For more information, visit the Alaska Seafood School website.