Product Inspection of Imported Fish
5. Product Inspection

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Product inspections are conducted in accordance to the procedures set out in the Fish Products Inspection Manual, Chapter 2. Products subject to inspection undergo an initial inspection for the test(s) which have been identified. The lot is sampled for testing in accordance to the procedures which apply for the tests being conducted. Test results are assessed against Canadian standards and guidelines. If the test result(s) do not meet Canadian standards, the lot is rejected and cannot be sold or distributed in Canada. The lot can undergo a re-inspection for the tests which failed provided that the product does not have in or upon it any poisonous or harmful substance.

5.1 Detention of Lots Subject to Inspection

Lots subject to inspection are placed under detention in accordance to the procedures outlined in the Fish Products Inspection Manual, Chapter 2, Subject 3.

In the case of fresh fish, which has a short shelf-life, lots to be inspected for monitoring purposes as part of the annual sampling plan are not required to be detained if the product has a good history of compliance or the importer submits proof of compliance that the product meets Canadian requirements.

5.2 Sampling of a Lot for Inspection

A lot is sampled for inspection in accordance to the procedures set out in the Standards and Methods Manual, Sampling.

Sample units may be used for more than one test provided that the unit size permits it, the sample units remain representative of the lot and that there is no impact on any of the test results.

5.2.1 Sample size

The number of units to be sampled in a lot is based on the tests to be conducted and whether the inspection is an initial inspection or a re-inspection as described in the Standards and Methods Manual, Sampling.

Sample Size Determination
Test Sample Size - Sampling plan

Microbiological Tests
Food Pathogens

  • E. coli
  • Salmonella
  • Listeria monocytogenes
  • Staphylococcus aureus
  • Vibrio parahaemolyticus

Adopted from the International Commission on Microbiological Specifications for Foods (ICMSF)

Sampling Policy and Procedures

Chemical Tests

  • Marine toxins (PSP, ASP, DSP, ciguatoxin)
  • Environmental contaminants (mercury)
  • Heavy metals
  • Food additives
  • Safety parameters
  • Electrophoresis (species identification)
  • Therapeutants

Adopted from the International Commission on Microbiological Specifications for Foods (ICMSF)

Sampling Policy and Procedures

Histamine

Sensory Evaluation

Net Content Determination

Package Integrity

Adopted from the Codex AQL 6.5 sampling plan of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) / World Health Organization (WHO) Codex Alimentarius Sampling Plans for Prepackaged Foods (CAC/RM 42-1969).

Sampling Policy and Procedures

Container Integrity

Visual Inspection Protocol (VIP)

Bulletin on the Container Integrity Evaluation Sampling and Tolerance Plan For Canned Fish and Canned Fish Product

5.3 Product Tests, Test Procedures and Canadian Standards

Species Related Testing
Species Production Source Tests Processing Type Product form Standards / Guidelines
Species subject to Environmental Contaminants Wild caught Mercury All Meat
oil
Roe
Organ
Canadian Guidelines for Chemical Contaminants and Toxins in Fish and Fish Products
Species subject to Environmental Contaminants Wild caught

Pesticides
DDT, HCB, BHCs, heptachlor, chlordane, dieldrin, endrin, aldrin, mirex

All Organ
Oil
Roe
Canadian Guidelines for Chemical Contaminants and Toxins in Fish and Fish Products
Species subject to Environmental Contaminants Farmed Drugs/Therapeutants All Meat
Organ, Roe

Appendix 1 (A) - CFIA Aquaculture Therapeutant Residue Monitoring List

Species subject to Histamine production Wild caught, Farmed Histamine All Meat
Extracts
Juice
Canadian Guidelines for Chemical Contaminants and Toxins in Fish and Fish Products
Species subject to Histamine production Farmed Drugs/Therapeutants All Meat
Organ, Roe

Appendix 1 (A) - CFIA Aquaculture Therapeutant Residue Monitoring List

Salmonids Wild caught

Pesticides
DDT, HCB, BHCs, heptachlor, chlordane, dieldrin, endrin, aldrin, mirex

All Organ
Oil
Roe
Canadian Guidelines for Chemical Contaminants and Toxins in Fish and Fish Products
Salmonids Farmed Drugs/Therapeutants All Meat
Organ, Roe

Appendix 1 (A) - CFIA Aquaculture Therapeutant Residue Monitoring List

Crustaceans Farmed Drugs/Therapeutants All Meat
Organ, Roe

Appendix 1 (A) - CFIA Aquaculture Therapeutant Residue Monitoring List

Molluscan Shellfish Species subject to Marine ToxinsFootnote 2 Wild caught
Farmed

Marine Toxins
Saxitoxins (PSP), Domoic Acid (ASP), DTX-1 and Okadaic Acid (DSP), Pectenotoxins PTX-1, PTX-2, PTX-3, PTX-4, PTX-6 and PTX-11

All Meat
Juice
Extracts
Dried
Canadian Guidelines for Chemical Contaminants and Toxins in Fish and Fish Products
Molluscan Shellfish Species subject to Marine Toxins
(Bivalve molluscs only)
Wild caught
Farmed
E. coli All non RTE; RTE without safety parameters without heat treatment Meat Bacteriological Guidelines for Fish and Fish Products
Oysters Wild caught
Farmed
Vibrio parahaemolyticus Live Meat Bacteriological Guidelines for Fish and Fish Products
Fish (other than salmonids, Molluscan shellfish and crustaceans) Farmed Drugs/Therapeutants All Meat
Organ, Roe

Appendix 1 (A) - CFIA Aquaculture Therapeutant Residue Monitoring List

Note: Products which are a mixture of fish and other food components from which the fish component cannot be easily separated are not subject to testing for contaminants and therapeutants. The non-fish components are not part of the scope for these test methods and can interfere with the methods and accuracy of the test results. Examples of such products include but are not limited to shrimp wonton soup or dumplings.

Electrophoresis - When there is doubt regarding the species declared for a product, electrophoresis is conducted to verify whether the species used is the one which was declared.

Processing Related Testing
Processing Type Tests Species Product form Procedures Standards / Requirements
ALL
(Canned, RTE-cooked, RTE-pasteurized in container, RTE-Safety parameters, RTE-no heat or safety parameters, Non-RTE)
Sensory Evaluation All All Fish Products Standards and Methods Manual Fish Products Standards and Methods Manual
ALL
(Canned, RTE-cooked, RTE-pasteurized in container, RTE-Safety parameters, RTE-no heat or safety parameters, Non-RTE)
Net Content All All Net Content Determination Procedures Net Content Determination Procedures
ALL
(Canned, RTE-cooked, RTE-pasteurized in container, RTE-Safety parameters, RTE-no heat or safety parameters, Non-RTE)
Label Assessment All All  --

Fish and Fish Products Labeling directives

Product specific labelling requirements / standards of identity

CFIA Fish List

ALL
(Canned, RTE-cooked, RTE-pasteurized in container, RTE-Safety parameters, RTE-no heat or safety parameters, Non-RTE)
Food Additives All All  --

Guide to Additives Permitted in Fish and Fish Products

Background Levels for Non-Permitted Additives

Canned Container Integrity All All

Visual Inspection Protocol

Metal Can Defects Manual

Flexible Retort Pouch Manual

Metal Can Defects Manual

Flexible Retort Pouch Manual

RTE-Cooked (frozen or refrigerated with a short shelf-life) Food Pathogens
- Listeria monocytogenes
- E. coli
- Staphylococcus aureus
- Salmonella
All Meat
Organ
 -- Bacteriological Guidelines for Fish and Fish Products
RTE-cooked
(refrigerated with a long shelf-life)
Food Pathogens
- Listeria monocytogenes
- E. coli
- Staphylococcus aureus
- Salmonella
All Meat
Organ
 -- Bacteriological Guidelines for Fish and Fish Products
RTE-cooked
(refrigerated with a long shelf-life)
Package Integrity All Meat
Organ
Package Integrity Guideline Package Integrity Guideline
RTE-cooked
(refrigerated with a long shelf-life)
Food Safety Parameters
(as applicable)
- pH
- Water activity
- Water phase salt
All Meat
Organ
 -- Guide - Process Control Technical Information
RTE - Pasteurized in container
(frozen)
Package Integrity All All Package Integrity of Pasteurized Products
(to be issued at a later date)
Package Integrity of Pasteurized Products
(to be issued at a later date)
RTE - Pasteurized in container
(refrigerated with a long shelf-life or shelf-stable)
Package Integrity All All Package Integrity of Pasteurized Products
(to be issued at a later date)
Package Integrity of Pasteurized Products
(to be issued at a later date)
RTE - Pasteurized in container
(refrigerated with a long shelf-life or shelf-stable)
Food Safety Parameters
(as applicable)
- pH
- Water activity
- Water phase salt
All Meat
Roe
Organ
Extracts
 -- Guide - Process Control Technical Information
RTE- Safety parameters Food Safety Parameters
(as applicable)
- pH
- Water activity
- Water phase salt
All Meat
Roe
Organ
Extracts/Concentrate, Oil
 -- Guide - Process Control Technical Information
RTE- Safety parameters Food Pathogens
- Listeria monocytogenes
- E. coli
- Staphylococcus aureus
- Salmonella
All Meat
Roe
Organ
Extracts/Concentrate, Oil
 -- Bacteriological Guidelines for Fish and Fish Products
RTE- Safety parameters Package Integrity All All Package Integrity Guideline Package Integrity Guideline
RTE- no safety parameters or heat Food Pathogens
- Listeria monocytogenes
- E. coli
- Staphylococcus aureus
- Salmonella
All Meat
Roe
Organ
Juice
 -- Bacteriological Guidelines for Fish and Fish Products
Non-RTE mixed food commodities (pre-cooked rice or pasta) Food Pathogens
- Staphylococcus aureus
All Meat  -- Bacteriological Guidelines for Fish and Fish Products
Non RTE - Battered fish Food Pathogens
- Staphylococcus aureus
All Meat  -- Bacteriological Guidelines for Fish and Fish Products
Non RTE - Battered fish Percent Fish Determination for breaded/battered fish All Meat Determination of percent fish in breaded and battered fish  

Product Specific Requirements

Smoked Fish

Salted Anchovies

  • Salted anchovy products must be kept refrigerated and labeled "keep refrigerated"

Scallops

5.4 Decision on product acceptability

Based on an assessment of all the test results, the CFIA will make a decision on the acceptability of the product for sale and distribution in Canada:

  1. If the product meets Canadian standards, the product is released by the CFIA from detention;
  2. If the product does not meet Canadian standards, the product remains under detention until a plan for product disposition has been accepted by CFIA. The CFIA will monitor the delivery of the disposition plan by the importer.
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