He does this because Legal Seafood is not just a restaurant. Under the law it's also a fish processor. All fish processors are subject to a national food safety system called HACCP, reports CBS News Correspondent Wyatt Andrews.
"HACCP, that means that they're taking in the fish, that they're following all the critical control points of handling the fish, making sure that it's refrigerated," said Kloak.
Technically, HACCP is alphabet soup for Hazard Analysis, Critical Control Points, an ocean to table checkpoint program.
"It's a monitoring system all the way through," said Roger Berkowitz, Legal's president. He helped the government develop HACCP. Processors have mandatory guidelines for temperature control, cleanliness and testing for germs and poisons.
"You can absolutely safeguard the public," said Berkowitz. Asked if the fact that he's eliminated these risks proves it can be done, he said, "Absolutely."
Despite all the known risks of seafood, everything from exotic toxins to simple spoilage, it may be that seafood is the least inspected food in America.
Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, a member of the Agriculture Committee, was asked if that is an acceptable record. "Absolutely not. Less than half of the plants under FDA's jurisdiction even comply with the law," said Harkin.
To be fair, the FDA only has 300 food inspectors to inspect all seafood, produce, eggs and juice. The USDA by contrast has 7,000 for beef and poultry. Harkin blames Congress for the imbalance.
"We've not funded FDA the way it should be funded. We've not held their feet to the fire on inspecting food," Harkin said.
Back at Legal Seafood, Roger Berkowitz does not believe HACCP would be all that tough to implement. Asked what the FDA is not doing that it should be doing, Berkowitz said, "Holding more people in compliance. I think they want to, but I don't think they have the force."
HACCP is designed to let the industry police itself, under FDA supervision. The GAO says the FDA's failure to crack down on unsanitary operators puts consumers at risk.
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