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Food and Drug Branch (FDB)

 FDB Home Page


Main Telephone:

(800) 495-3232


Address (Courier Delivery):
California Department of Public Health - Food and Drug Branch
1500 Capitol Ave, MS 7602
Sacramento, CA 95814​

Address (Non-Courier Delivery):
California Department of Public Health - Food and Drug Branch
P.O. Box 997435, MS 7602
Sacramento, CA 95899​

Seafood and Shellfish Safety


Manufacturers and distributors of seafood products, which include all fish and fishery products intended for human consumption, are required to obtain a Processed Food Registration from the California Department of Public Health, Food and Drug Branch (FDB). Fish and fishery products, include, but are not limited to the following:​ finfish (i.e. fresh and saltwater), crustaceans (i.e. crabs, shrimps and lobsters), echinoderms (i.e. sea cucumbers and sea urchins), reptiles (i.e. alligators and turtles), amphibians (i.e. frogs) and mollusks (i.e. escargot and abalones). Molluscan shellfish is not considered a seafood product. All seafood manufacturers and distributors are regulated by California statutes and Federal regulations under the current Good Manufacturing Practices (21 CFR Part 117) and the Seafood Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) Regulations (21 CFR Part 123). 

Molluscan Shellfish

“Shellfish” includes all species of native and nonnative raw oysters, clams, mussels and whole scallops, either fresh or frozen, and either shucked or in-the-shell. Firms that process, handle, and distribute shellfish must obtain a Shellfish Handling and Marketing Certificate from FDB. This includes businesses involved in the distribution of shellfish that do not take physical possession of the shellfish. The Shellfish Handling and Marketing Certificate is required even if the facility has a Processed Food Registration (PFR). The Shellfish Handling and Marketing Certificate is free of charge. 

A Processed Food Registration is not required if firms exclusively manufacture, handle and distribute raw, fresh or frozen (shucked or in-the-shell) shellfish.

The Shellfish Handling and Marketing Certificate assigns a dealer’s number for each certified facility and authorizes a dealer to engage in specific activities such as repacking, reshipping and shucking shellfish. The dealer’s number is required to be listed on all shellfish tags and labels to indicate that the shellfish has originated from a certified facility.

Shellfish dealers shipping products into interstate commerce are required to meet the requirements of the National Shellfish Sanitation Program (NSSP) and must be certified for listing on the Interstate Certified Shellfish Shippers List (ICSSL).

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