All shellfish sold for purchase in British Columbia must pass through a federally-regulated processing plant.
Here are a few examples of how our shellfish moves from the farm to the retailer or restaurant. (A special thank you to the team at the BC Centre for Disease Control for sharing their graphic.)
A Independent farms supply a processing plant with beach and raft oysters and product is sent to multiple distributors who send on to multiple retailers. At the farm level, a single boat collects oysters from multiple raft sites within a farm, and between farms before unloading at the dock. In this scenario, retailers can receive the same farm oysters handled by different distributors.
B An independent farm supplies beach oysters (from the same farm as in Scenario A) to a trucking company that delivers to multiple processing plants. A company-owned farm – meaning a farm owned by the processor – harvest beach oysters and uses long-line wet holding below thermocline (at cold temperatures) before sending through to the processing plant. In this scenario, the same restaurant (restaurant z) may receive the same farm oysters handled by different processors (this restaurant receives ‘farm 2’ oysters in Scenario A from processor A and in Scenario B from
C The processor only receives oysters from shellfish farms they own, and the boat delivers directly to their site where they practice on-site wet storage holding (using cold water pumped in from deep ocean) to equilibrate oysters (removing excess Vibrio parahaemolyticus and reducing the temperature). This site is also the processing plant location for the oysters, which move from the holding area into the processing plant. Similar to Scenario A, multiple distributors and retailers receive the product.