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American Shrimp Co. certifys own evaluators to boost capacity and quality standards

US - Wild American Shrimp, Inc. (WASI) has announced that it has completed the training of 100 Licensed Certified Evaluators (LTEs) who will ensure that wild-caught U.S. shrimp processed in facilities along the southern Gulf and Atlantic coasts meet the highest of standards.

'At a critical time in the marketplace, Wild American Shrimp is doing everything possible to guarantee that wild-caught shrimp is inspected and meets the stringent requirements necessary to be deemed Certified Wild American Shrimp,' said Mario Piccinin, Director of Operations at WASI. 'To that end, the completion of training for 100 certified evaluators will not only help ensure quality standards are met, but will increase the capacity to certify product.'

'This means that consumers can rest assured that if their shrimp bears the Wild American Shrimp certification mark, it has passed through a rigorous evaluation process performed by qualified and trained experts,' added Piccinin. 'With food safety and certification issues increasingly in the headlines, WASI is proud to continually raise standards and continue its commitment to excellence.'

Evaluators at the processing facilities volunteered for the certification program and completed two days of intensive training in the areas of sensory, defect determination, documentation and new laboratory procedures. Five training sessions were held between January and May in Port Isabel, Texas; Pascagoula, Miss.; Baton Rouge, La.; Charleston, S.C.; and Gainesville, Fla. To train the evaluators, WASI assembled a team of experts from the eight coastal state university sea grant programs, including James Barnett, the recently retired national sensory expert from the Food and Drug Administration.

The WASI-trained evaluators will begin certifying product on June 1. Previously, this function was handled by US Department of Commerce (USDC) inspectors. While WASI's certified evaluators will assume responsibility for this role next month, USDC inspectors are invited to receive the certification training offered by WASI and will continue to conduct initial facility audits at shrimp processing plants.

Source: BVOM