The Seafood Technology Bureau is the regulatory authority for Mississippi’s seafood industry. Oyster, shrimp and crab are popular staples in seafood dishes, so it is vital that safe seafood is produced and sold to the general public. The bureau’s missions is to ensure that commercial seafood is processed and prepared safely for the consumer market.


MDMR has two certified seafood officers that conduct quarterly inspections of oyster, shrimp and crab processing facilities. A thorough sanitation inspection of the facility and review of Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) records are conducted during an inspection.

  1. When owners of seafood businesses plan to open their facilities, they must purchase a seafood dealer’s license from MDMR’s licensing office. This license is valid for one year.
  2. In addition, the bureau strongly recommends that the owner or a representative of the company attend a HACCP training workshops at MDMR or schedule on-site training at your facility. HACCP provides proper knowledge about preventive measures that ensure your seafood products are protected from food hazards. Click here to view available the workshop dates.
  3. Once a license has been purchased and HACCP training is complete, the facility is ready for inspection. A pre-operational inspection is conducted to verify that the facility meets the general requirements. MDMR will take a water sample to verify that the water is free of contaminants. Once water results are analyzed, an initial certification inspection is conducted. When your facility is certified, routine inspections are conducted on a quarterly basis and follow-up inspections are conducted as needed.

According to the United States Food and Drug Administration’s Current Good Manufacturing Practices, the water supply in a food processing plant shall be sufficient for the operations intended and shall be derived from an adequate source. Any water that contacts food or food-contact surfaces shall be safe and of adequate sanitary quality.

An adequate supply of sanitary quality has been interpreted to mean from a potable water supply based on nationally established drinking water standards. Whether water is obtained from a municipal source or private well, the supply must be monitored with sufficient frequency to assure that the water is safe for use on foods and food contact surfaces.

Municipal water source
For water that originates from a municipal source, a copy of the water bill will usually be sufficient documentation for an approved water supply. It may also be helpful to request a copy of the municipality water quality analysis. These documents should be obtained annually and filed with a periodic or monthly Sanitation Control Record.
Private water sources (wells)
Private water sources (wells) should be monitored to determine if the water meets approved standards. This requires laboratory analysis, which at a minimum should include testing for indicator bacteria such as total coliforms. Well water testing should be conducted before any new source is used for processing operations, then at least on a semi-annual basis or more frequently for suspect sources. If your facility operates on well water, you will need to arrange to have your water sampled and tested by a laboratory. For a list of local laboratories that can sample your water, please contact a member of the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources Seafood Technology Bureau at (228) 374-5000.

Pre-operational (Pre-Op) Inspection – A DMR Seafood Officer will visit your facility to determine if it meets the necessary requirements before opening up for business.

Quarterly Routine Inspections – An on-site unannounced inspection of the sanitary condition of a seafood facility. Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) Plans and associated records are also observed. The DMR’s management includes inspections of the certified facilities in accordance with relevant NSSP or ISSC sanitation/health safety specifications and issuance to certified dealers itemized statements of compliances and non-compliances with these specifications. It shall be unlawful to operate a processing or shipping facility without a current valid certificate.

Follow-Up Inspections – An inspection conducted by a DMR Seafood Officer to observe if deficiencies that were noted during the routine inspection have been corrected.

Certification Inspection – An inspection where the facility inspected has to meet the certification requirements of the NSSP Model Ordinance and Title 22 Part 17. This inspection usually occurs between the months of January and March.

Annual Evaluation Inspection – An evaluation of the inspection program conducted by FDA Program Specialists to verify inspection criteria is being met.

Standardization Inspection – An inspection conducted to see if the State Standardization Officers adhere to the same set of standards as the Food and Drug Administration STANDARD. The FDA STANDARD is the regulatory body of the National Shellfish Sanitation Program.

Technical Assistance Visits – Any announced or unannounced visit where a DMR Seafood Officer will visit a facility and assist the dealer or processor with anything they request. Such examples include but are not limited to: mock inspections, technical instructions, in-house training, delivering hand-washing signs or posters written in languages understood by the employees, and lending videos on proper sanitation for your employees’ use. Technical assistance visits are made to shrimp and crab processing facilities as well.