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Ensuring Food Safety

Quality and safety go hand in hand when you are producing crab meat and seafood products. We live by two mottos:

HACCP and other certifications

All Phillips seafood production plants exceed HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) and FDA guidelines and standards.

Steaming and hand-picking

The crabs are steamed immediately upon receipt at the mini plant, then cooled and debacked. The meat is immediately extracted by an individual picker or a team of pickers. At this point, it is separated into the grades of crab meat. This picking is done over ice in a cooled room to keep the crab meat at the proper temperature. Once this initial pick is completed, the crab meat is ready for transport to one of our main plants.

Microtesting and Sensory Evaluation

Upon its arrival at the main plant, the crab meat goes through an organoleptic check. This includes a temperature test and a sensory evaluation that quantifies how the product looks, tastes, smells and feels. We do elaborate and constant microbiological and organoleptic testing from the time the crabs are purchased until the product is released to our customers. Once the meat passes inspection, it will come under our quality-assurance program, passing on to the next stage of processing.

The Quality of the Can Counts

Every detail is considered – even the crab meat container itself is constructed with safety in mind. A double seam sealing process creates a thermal barrier. The inside is lined with a double lacquer to stop tin migration. In addition to our in-house microbiologist, we have seamer mechanics and technicians on staff at all of our plants. Using a seam scope, a can technician is able to thoroughly examine the seam of the can.


Each can is coded so that the product can be traced to origin, plant and half-hour of production; we offer complete forward and backward traceability.


Once the crab meat is canned, the pasteurization process can begin. Pasteurization is a controlled thermal process that continues for a specific amount of time until the proper lethality has been reached to kill naturally occurring microorganisms and pathogens, such as Salmonella, Listeria, E. coli and C. botulinum. High-tech equipment is used to monitor the temperature inside the can; we have skilled and qualified pasteurization supervisors in each plant who are trained by the FDA’s “Better Process Control Program.” After the pasteurization process is complete, we open a percentage of our cans to do a final organoleptic evaluation before releasing the lots for shipment.

Shipping Overseas

The master cartons of crab meat are transported from Asia to the United States via container ship. Enclosed inside two of the master cartons of crab meat are time and temperature recorders. These devices allow us to determine what the temperature was at every 55 minutes of the crab meat’s two-month shipping time to the United States.

Once received into the United States, a percentage of the crab meat containers are once again opened and go through an organoleptic evaluation before being cleared for use in our facility, shipment to distributors and retailers, or for shipment to our offices throughout the country.

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