Fish Products Inspection Manual
Chapter 5 - Inspection of Fresh and Frozen Fish

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Subject 1 - Inspection of Live Crab and Lobster

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1. Scope

This document outlines the regulation, policy and procedures governing the inspection of live crab and lobster before butchering and/or cooking.

2. Authorities

  • Fish Inspection Act, R.S.C., 1970, c.F-12; Section 3
  • Fish Inspection Regulations (FIR), C.R.C., 1978, c.802; Part I, General

Section 23 (FIR):

No person shall:

  1. process crabs, lobsters, clams, oysters, mussels or whelks that are not alive.

3. Policy

3.1 Crab or lobsters which are defective (see section 4 - Definitions) must not be further processed.

3.2 Processors will be in violation of this policy if the percentage of defective crab or lobster entering into butchering and/or cooking lines exceeds 10%.

3.3 Lots of raw product which meet the 10% or less criterion may be processed; however, defective crab or lobster is to be culled from the line during processing.

3.4 Lots of raw product which contain greater than 10% defective crab or lobster must be culled before butchering and/or cooking.

4. Definitions

Defective: for the purposes of this document, crab or lobsters will be considered defective if:

  • there is an odour of decomposition or there is black discolouration; or
  • there is no response to stimulation by a Crab Life Detector; or
  • there is no noticeable heart action when the carapace is removed; or
  • there is any other indication that the sample unit is tainted, decomposed or unwholesome.

5. Procedures

5.1 During the QMP inspection of the critical control point "incoming fish", in plants which butcher and/or cook raw lobster or crab, the inspector will verify that the plant's QMP is determining the condition of each incoming lot and that appropriate action is being taken to cull any lot found to contain 10% or more of defective crab or lobster.

5.2 The inspector will assess the QMP verification and/or culling procedure by inspecting any lot held for butchering and/or cooking after the lot has been inspected by the plant's QMP personnel. The inspector will determine sample size by using Sampling Plan 1 in the Fish Products Standards and Methods Manual. Sample size is based on the number of sample units in the lot. Minimum sample size shall be 13 crabs or lobsters.

5.3 The inspector shall calculate the percentage of defective crab or lobster in the lot.

5.4 If the lot held for butchering and/or cooking fails to meet the 10% tolerance before processing, in addition to a QMP deficiency, enforcement action will be initiated in accordance with the National Fish Inspection Enforcement Policy and the QMP Enforcement Policy.

5.5 Lots of incoming raw crab or lobster that have been culled must be processed within 8 hours of culling. If more than 8 hours have passed since the previous culling, the lot must be inspected again to ensure that defective crab or lobster are removed from the lot.

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