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MEAT & SEAFOOD

FSSAI issues gazette notification on vertical stds for fish and seafood
Saturday, 28 October, 2017, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Prashant Nikale, Mumbai
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has issued a gazette notification of the amended regulations for vertical standards for fish and fish products. Called the Food Safety and Standards (Food Products Standards and Food Additives) Eleventh Amendment Regulations, 2017, these regulations will standardise fish and fish products, including frozen fish, canned fish and smoked fish products like shrimp, fin fish, crustaceans, molluscs and fish fillets.

The notification stated the conditions for the freezing process, requirements, potential contaminants, food additives, hygiene, toxins and residues, packaging and  labelling regulations for the final fish products. It also includes regulations on such products as ready-to-eat fish or shellfish curry, sardine oil, edible fish powder, fish pickles, frozen minced fish meat, freeze dried prawns and clam meat.

Process definition
It mentioned the freezing process as it shall be carried out, with appropriate equipment, in such a way that the range of temperature of maximum crystallisation is passed quickly. The freezing process shall not be regarded as complete until the product temperature has reached - 18 degree Celsius or lower at the thermal centre after thermal stabilisation.

The water used for cooking shall be of potable quality or clean seawater, which meets the same microbiological standards as potable water and is free from potential contaminants and should be kept deep-frozen to maintain the quality during transportation, storage and distribution.

Frozen products shall be processed and packaged to minimise dehydration and oxidation and the practice of repacking frozen products under controlled conditions, which shall maintain the quality of the product, followed by the reapplication of the freezing process, as defined, is permitted.

Welcoming the move, Shivam Gupta, director, WestCoast Group, and brand in-charge, Cambay Tiger, stated, “We, at Cambay Tiger, welcome the new vertical regulations of FSSAI and believe it will help the industry move a few steps ahead in achieving the much-needed standardisation.”

“It should further consolidate the industry in terms of application of standards in processing, weed out players failing to meet them and bring the industry in line with the global benchmarks,” he added.

“Fish is a biological product for human consumption. Therefore, utmost care needs to be taken to ensure that fish and seafood products are hygienic and safe for consumption, across the chain, including its culture, storage, distribution, processing and packaging,” he added.

Requirements
According to the gazette notification, the fish used for making the products should be healthy fish and of a good quality to be sold fresh for human consumption.

If glazed, the water used for glazing or preparing glazing solutions shall be of potable quality (IS 10500) or clean sea-water, and should be free from potential contaminants.

Other ingredients shall be of food-grade quality and conform to all applicable standards prescribed in these regulations.

Food additives
The gazette notification allows only those food additives which are specified under these regulations.

Hygiene

The gazette states that the product shall be prepared and handled in accordance with the guideline specified in Part-II of Schedule 4 of the Food Safety and Standards (Licensing and Registration of Food Businesses) Regulations, 2011, and such guidelines provided from time to time under the provisions of the Food Safety and Standard Act, 2006.

Contaminants, toxins and residues
The products covered in this standard shall comply with the Food Safety and Standards (Contaminants, Toxins and Residues) Regulations, 2011 and conform to the microbiological requirements specified in Appendix B of these regulations.

Packaging and labelling
The products shall comply with the packaging and labelling requirements specified in the Food Safety and Standards (Packaging and Labelling), Regulations, 2011, and shall also apply to the pre-packaged products. The product shall be stored at -18°C or lower and shall be displayed on the label.

Canned fishery products
The gazette notification defines canned fishery products as canned finfish, crustaceans and molluscs solid-packed or packed in oil, water or any other suitable medium. They should be packed in hermetically-sealed containers and shall have received a processing treatment sufficient to ensure commercial sterility.

For canned fish products, the leg, claws, body, shoulder, shell head, shell, antennae, heads and gills, scales and tail shall be removed, If eviscerated, it shall be free from visceral parts other than roe, milt or kidney. If ungutted, it shall be free from undigested feed or used feed.

Canned products shall be packed in suitable containers, free from rust and hermetically sealed. Cans shall be lacquered, the lacquer used shall be non-toxic and shall be of such quality that it does not impart any foreign taste and smell to the contents of the cans and does not peel off during the processing and storage of the product. The lacquer shall not be soluble in oil or brine.

Presentation
The product shall be presented in one of the following packing media: its own juice, brine or water, edible oil, tomato sauce or curry. The can shall not show any visible external defects like denting, panelling, swelling or rusting. The contents of the can, on opening, shall not display any appreciable disintegration.

Pieces from which portions have separated would be treated as disintegrated units. The percentage of the detached portion of the fish, calculated on the basis of the drained mass, shall not exceed five per cent by mass based on the average of five cans. The product shall have the odour, flavour and colour characteristic of the species.

Decomposition
The raw fish shall not contain more than 100mg/kg of histamine based on the average of the sample unit-tested. This shall apply only to species of fish with potential to form hazardous levels of histamine as mentioned in Food Safety and Standards (Contaminants, Toxins and Residues) Regulations, 2011.
 
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