About Shrimp School
The University of Florida's annual shrimp school presented by the Aquatic Food Products Program had its first school in 1995. The annual training program was conceived and organized by Dr. Steve Otwell, Florida SeaGrant seafood safety specialist, and has been conducted by Dr. Otwell and Laura Garrido, the shrimp school coordinator. The school is dedicated to advancing shrimp product quality and safety, and has become the leading academically-based domestic and international training program for shrimp processors and regulators worldwide. This technical program features current and basic topics through lectures and actual hands-on training. The optimal class size is 25 participants, although registration has ranged as high as 40 attendees. Annual demand for the school always exceeds the number of seats available. Since 1995, a total of seventeen schools have been completed in the USA. Three others schools have been completed in international locations such as Nicaragua and Ecuador and special schools for participants from Asian countries.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) now considers this school its principal training program for shrimp processors and importers into the US , and sends from two to four instructors to teach decomposition and filth training, a major problem with imported shrimp, and other topics of current priority to FDA. All other training is conducted by experienced speakers from the University of Florida and private industry. Recent industry speakers have represented Amcor Flexibles, Newly Weds Foods, Quality Certifications, Urner Barry Publications, ABC Research Labs, R-Biopharm, Inc, Charm Sciences, Darden Restaurants, Costco Wholesale, Contessa Food Products, Global Aquaculture Alliance and the European Union. The training combines lectures with daily laboratory experience and demonstrations, and the topics change as processing and regulatory issues change. This three-day school is useful for experienced and new suppliers, processors, buyers, importers, exporters, inspectors or quality control managers and others in the private industry from management through production. On completion of the course, participants are provided with certificates for future reference as alumni of the UF-Shrimp School.