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The importance of
a shellfish tag

Shellfish Tag

Quality Assurance

The shellfish tag is the most important piece of information you receive with your shellfish shipment. This tag tells you who the dealer is, when the shellfish was harvested, and when it was shipped.

The shellfish tag is the commonly accepted method of tracing the harvest area of shellfish in the event of illness. In theory the information on the tag is correct, and as the product moves through the distribution channels the accuracy of the information remains intact. The FDA, the ISSC and state regulators have all agreed to this method of tracing shellfish.

We advise that you know the people you are dealing with and read the tags carefully for every shipment of shellfish you receive.

  1. The original shipper’s company name and address.
  2. The original shipper’s interstate shellfish shipper’s license number. These license numbers are published in a monthly publication by the FDA. If the number is not in the book, the shipment is illegal. The number is preceded by the State abbreviation.

    The number is followed by one of these abbreviations:
    • SS, which is a shellfish shipper.
    • SP, which is a Shucker-Packer.
    • RS, which is a re-shipper.
    Briefly, SSs and SPs can buy from fishermen and ship interstate. An SP can also shuck shellfish. An RS can buy only from SSs or SPs and must reference their numbers on their tags when they ship interstate.
  3. The Harvest Date is the date on which the shellfish was taken out of the body of water where they have matured.
  4. After being harvested by either the fisherman or the grower, your shellfish is stored in our triple-filtered, temperature-controlled seawater system. The Wet Storage Harvest Date reflects the exact day on which we remove the product from the water to pack and ship it to you. Use this date to plan your future orders and monitor shelf life.
  5. This is the body of water from which the shellfish was harvested. Not only is it important for the consumer to know where their shellfish is grown, it is also an industry standard to be able to trace shellfish back to their original body of water. For example, Quonset Point® Oysters are cultured in Narragansett Bay, RI. If you are getting Quonset Point® Oysters from a different location, you are not getting true Quonset Point® Oysters.
  6. The type of shellfish should indicate the brand, with the next line indicating the quantity. Knowing where the brand of shellfish is grown is critical to your buying decisions.

    The regulations governing shellfish sales and handling are governed by the Interstate Shellfish Sanitation Conference, of which American Mussel Harvesters owner, Bill Silkes, is an industry member. For more information on this organization and how they are protecting your health, click www.issc.org.
  7. Due to an update in the Model Ordinance, this section has been changed from listing wet storage dates and locations to representing the lot number of the product. The lot number references the original source of the shellfish.
    • The "W" indicates that the product has been in wet storage in American Mussel Harvesters’ Restaurant Ready® Seawater System.
    • Next, the original shipper is indicated (i.e., RI234SS).
    • Last, the original harvest date is represented.
    In the example WRI234SS010111, the product was wet-stored, the original shipper is RI234SS and the original harvest date is 01/01/11.

    American Mussel Harvesters, Inc. has a wet storage facility on location, and the majority of our shellfish is wet stored to cleanse the product of sand, grit and bacteria and to promote longer shelf life.

165 Tidal Drive
North Kingstown,
R.I. 02852

Phone: 401.294.8999
Fax: 401.294.0449