NC State Extension Publications


North Carolina seafood processors have a new training tool to provide a better understanding of sanitation and safety requirements for Spanish-speaking employees. The NC State Seafood Laboratory received a grant through NC Sea Grant to develop eight videos that show and explain the sanitation and safety regulations the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires for seafood processing plants.

View photo of workers in a training class.

Sanitation and safety within the seafood processing industry is essential throughout the food supply chain to guarantee a safe product for public consumption. Improper sanitation practices are the most common type of violation discovered by federal and state health inspectors during food safety inspections of seafood processors. The FDA reported that the success rates for providing adequate sanitation controls (all GMPs, sanitation monitoring, and recordkeeping) range yearly from about 60-70% for seafood processors.

With a shortage of domestic workers in the U.S. seafood processing industry, it is common for businesses to employ international Spanish-speaking workers through the H-2B Visa Program. These workers often speak or understand little English and they make up a large portion of the local North Carolina seafood processing workforce. This can result in communication difficulties.

To aid in the communication with these workers, the objectives of the project were to develop and implement sanitation and safety training videos for the Spanish-speaking employees, and to evaluate the video’s effectiveness on workers’ practical knowledge and skills. The content of the training videos focuses on eight essential sanitation conditions or areas specified by the FDA Seafood HACCP Regulations.

Local NC seafood processor, Pamlico Packing Co., Inc., collaborated with the Seafood Laboratory to implement the training program. Informative pamphlets that contained a condensed summary of the training content were developed and distributed to employees.

Those employees who received the new sanitation and safety training reported feeling more confident in performing job duties and improved their scores on a relevant knowledge assessment. It was clear that workers’ performance on the designed food safety and sanitation knowledge evaluation was not necessarily indicative of their performance in hands-on sanitation and safety behaviors. Because the observed hands-on sanitation and safety performance of workers was so high before the training—97-100% efficacy—there was not much room for improvement in this regard.

Seafood processing workers who practice sanitation and safety guidelines incorrectly, or at a lower standard than required, may increase their performance when following the guidelines learned from this training.

Overall, the implementation of the video training did result in more job-related confidence and knowledge for workers, which can potentially lead to more significant economic gains for processors, as well as a lower risk of illness for workers and consumers.

Group of seafood workers sitting in chairs watching a training video.

Seafood workers view training videos

Sanitation and Safety in Seafood Processing

Skip to Sanitation and Safety in Seafood Processing

Part of the training project included developing a printable document entitled "Sanitation and Safety in Seafood Processing," which contains a condensed summary of the transcripts from each video.

Downloadable PDFs are available in both English and Spanish.


For more information on this project and the implementation of this training program, contact Alex Chouljenko, Assistant Professor, and Greg Bolton, Research Specialist,

Visit the Seafood Laboratory website to learn more about seafood science and research projects.


FBNS Seafood Laboratory

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Publication date: June 21, 2023

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