Processors of bivalve molluscan shellfish

All bivalve molluscan shellfish (BMS) processors, including those doing depuration (cleansing or purification) and land-based wet storage, must operate under a risk management programme.

What BMS processing covers

BMS processing includes:

  • primary and secondary processing
  • land-based wet storage
  • depuration (cleansing).

Primary or secondary processing

Both primary or secondary processing start when the BMS is received at the processing premises.

Land-based wet storage

This is the temporary storage of BMS intended for:

  • retail
  • wholesale
  • processing.

The BMS is moved from a growing area to land-based premises. At the premises it gets:

  • desanded (removing sand)
  • conditioned or stored before processing or direct sale.


Depuration treatment reduces the level of contaminants in live BMS by managing the aquatic environment. This treatment is done before any:

  • wet storage
  • retail
  • wholesale
  • processing.

Requirements for BMS processors

All BMS processors must operate under a risk management programme.

Find out about risk management in seafood and fish processing

You must also comply with the Animal Products Notice: Specifications for Products Intended for Human Consumption. This includes requirements for:

  • testing
  • reception
  • raw harvested BMS
  • processing BMS
  • wet storage of BMS, including the appropriate wet storage systems
  • depuration of BMS
  • shucking, processing, and packing
  • heat shocking
  • repacking
  • labelling.

The requirements for BMS are in Part 23 of this notice.

Animal Products Notice: Specifications for Products Intended for Human Consumption [PDF, 1.3 MB]

BMS processors who export

If you export BMS, then you also need to meet the requirements for the specific country you're exporting to – especially if you export to the European Union (EU) or the United States.

Find out more about exporting seafood

Who to contact

If you have questions about BMS processing, email

Last reviewed: