As promised, this final installment of this multi-part article for our Best Food Importers website will deal with the topics of contaminants, microbiological contamination and labeling requirements, in the broad context of the buyers requirements for the European Union’s and EFTA’s fish and seafood market. The food any producer brings to the market can get contaminated during the various stages in the process or via environmental contamination, and can be the target of restrictions in EU legislation framework. Contaminants covered include heavy metals such as lead, cadmium, mercury; dioxins and polychlorinated biphenyls(PCBs); as well as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons(PAHs).
Fish and seafood products destined for the EU market are generally tested before shipped, sometimes in the buyer’s own laboratory, sometimes in other certified and recognized laboratories, in order to prevent costly border rejections. A close collaboration with the European Fish Processors Association can insure for any fish and seafood producer that wants to gain entry in this highly regulated market the best methods for avoiding any problems in order to safeguard the positive image of the respective fish or seafood product.
Microbiological contamination can occur when certain bacterias are unintentionally introduced in the fish and seafood products. The microbiological contamination issue is regulated by the health standard of the fish and seafood products as established in Regulation (EC) No 2073/2005. Microbiological contamination can be prevented by proper hygiene measures. Therefore, any fish and seafood supplier must pay extra attention to this topic. In the case of histamine, for instance, instant cooling of the fish and proper temperature management at all stages should be introduced.
Labeling requirements for fish products include general food labelling requirements, a topic that is the focus of an ongoing multi-part article that is being published on our website, but also include, for certain fishery products, specific requirements. These specific labelling requirements for fish include regulations such as designation of the species and information about production and catch area. As highlighted in our General Food Labeling article, the legislation on food labeling that was in effect until the end of 2014 was be replaced by an EU Regulation which will be applicable from 13 December 2014. In regards to specific new labeling requirements for fish and seafood products, a CBI study published in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of The Netherlands stats that: “Main differences with respect to existing requirements are mandatory indication of the category of fishing gear used in capture of fisheries (seines, trawls, gillnets and similar nets, surrounding nets and lift nets, hooks and lines, dredges or pots and traps) and indication of whether products have been defrosted (with some exceptions).”
Let us end this overall presentation of the EU buyers requirements with the schematic published on the first installment of this multi-part article, a reminder of the topics we’ve touched upon for our dear readers.
Image courtesy of Lynn Lin – Some rights reserved
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