Standards and Methods Manual
Chapter 3 - Fresh and Frozen Products

Standard 1 - Fresh and Frozen Groundfish Block and Fillet Standard

PDF (36 kb)

1. Introduction

This standard for fresh and frozen groundfish fillets and blocks including minced fish derives its authority from the Fish Inspection Act and Regulations. It defines minimum acceptability for taint, decomposition, and unwholesomeness and other requirements, other than weight, as defined in the Fish Inspection Act and Regulations and describes methods for determining that acceptability.

2. Scope

This standard applies to fresh, frozen or defrosted fillets or fillet blocks or minced blocks of groundfish, prepared from any one of the following families or orders of groundfish:

  1. The family Gadidae - including cod, haddock, pollock, hake and cusk;
  2. The family Anarchichadidae - wolffish or catfish;
  3. The family Scorpaenidae - including ocean perch (redfish) and black belly rosefish;
  4. The family Hexagrammidae - ling cod;
  5. The order Pleuronectiformes - including flounder, sole, greysole, turbot and other related flatfish species;
  6. The family Lophiidae - monkfish.

Fresh, frozen or defrosted groundfish fillets or fillet blocks or minced blocks should be prepared from sound, wholesome raw material and processed using good manufacturing practices.

Documents which are used for interpreting good manufacturing practices include:

  1. Recommended International Code of Practice - General Principles of Food Hygiene, CAC/RCP 1-1969 REV. 1.
  2. Codex Alimentarius Sampling Plans for Prepackaged Foods, (AQL 6.5) CAC/RM 42-1969.
  3. Recommended International Code of Practice for Fresh Fish, CAC/RCP 9-1976.
  4. Recommended International Code of Practice for Frozen Fish, CAC/RCP 16-1978.

3. Nomenclature

The name of the product shall be that required in common usage in Canada and in accordance with the Fish Inspection Regulations and any requirements of the applicable Codex Alimentarius Recommended International Standard.

4. Forms of Product Presentation

4.1 Groundfish may be presented as fillets or blocks.

4.2 Groundfish may also be presented as minced fish blocks.

4.3 Any other presentation may be permitted provided that it:

  1. is sufficiently distinctive from the forms of presentations set out in 4.1 and 4.2; and
  2. meets the requirements of the Fish Inspection Regulations; and
  3. is adequately described on the label and in accordance with all regulatory labelling requirements.

5. Sampling

The sampling and tolerance plans at the front of this manual shall be used to determine the acceptability of the lot. The sampling plans dictate the minimum sample size to be taken. If necessary, in the opinion of the inspector, more than the minimum sample size specified may be taken.

5.1 Sampling of lots for the sensory examination of the product shall be in accordance with the FAO/WHO Codex Alimentarius Sampling Plan for Prepackaged Foods (AQL 6.5) (CAC/RM 42-1969) except that a lower acceptance number for decomposition shall be used as indicated in the sampling tables.

The tables specify the minimum number of sample units to be used for the following types of inspections:

  1. Level I - Sensory examinations of all products subject to inspection other than lots which are subject to reinspection.
  2. Level II - Sensory examinations of all products which are under reinspection.

5.2 Size of Sample Unit

The sample unit shall consist of a container of fish and the entire contents thereof.

6. Description of Defects

6.1 Decomposition

A sample unit will be classified decomposed when more than 10% of the declared weight is affected by:

a) Odours

Persistent and distinct odours in a fillet, part of a fillet or in minced fish characterized by:

  • fruity, vegetable, musty, saltfish-like, sour, sour milk-like, faecal, ammonia, hydrogen sulphide, bilge, putrid; or

b) Colour

Distinct green colour in a fillet or part fillet of flatfish species.

6.2 Taint

A sample unit will be classified tainted when more than 10% of the declared weight is found to be:

a) Rancid

Odour in a fillet or part of a fillet or minced fish which is characterized by the persistent and distinct odour of oxidized oil (this may be characterized by a pungent sensation in the nasal passage); or

b) Abnormal

Distinct and persistent odour in a fillet or part of a fillet or minced fish which is organic sulphide-like, such as dimethyl sulfide (blackberry), or iodine-like, as associated with feed.

6.3 A sample unit shall be classified as defective when more than 10% of the declared weight of the sample unit is affected by any combination of tainted or decomposed conditions.

6.4 Unwholesome

a) Critical Foreign Matter

A lot will be considered defective when any of the following conditions are found:

  1. the presence of any material which has not been derived from fish and which poses a threat to human health (such as glass, etc.); or
  2. distinct and persistent odour of any material which has not been derived from fish and which poses a threat to human health (such as solvents, fuel oil, etc.).

b) Foreign Matter

A unit will be considered defective when the following condition is found:

  • the presence of any material which has not been derived from fish but does not pose a threat to human health (such as insect pieces, sand, etc.)

c) Other Defects

A unit will be considered defective when any of the following conditions are found:

  1. Dehydration (freezer burn)
    Fillet Packs or Blocks - More than 10% of the surface area of a sample unit is affected.
    Fillets (IQF or Layer Pack) - More than 10% of the declared weight of the fillets in the sample unit is affected with dehydration conditions affecting more than 10% of the fillet surface area.
  2. Nematodes or Copepods
    Only nematodes or copepod parasites having a capsular diameter of greater than 3 mm or, if not encapsulated, a length of greater than 10 mm will be considered in determining whether the lot is acceptable with respect to parasites. For packs of 1 kg and greater, the presence of 2 or more parasites per kg of sample unit will result in rejection of the sample. For packs of less than 1 kg an average of 1 parasite per kg of total sample will result in rejection of the sample. For example, a sample consisting of 13 units of 500 g each would be rejected if 7 or more parasites were found.
    The following parasite occurrences will result in the sample unit being classified as defective
    Pack Size Reject Parasite Level
    1 kg Use average as described above
    5 lb 3
    10 lb 5
    15 lb 7
    16.5 lb 8
    18.5 lb 9
    20 lb 10
    50 lb 23
  3. Gelatinous Conditions
    More than 10% of the sample unit by declared weight is affected by excessive jellied conditions of the flesh.
  4. Bones (Boneless Packs Only)
    One bone 1 mm in diameter or 10 mm in length per kg fish.

7. Examination Methods

7.1 Scope

The methodology described in this section outlines a procedure for the examination of groundfish fillet and block products. The examination shall be made of end-of-line final products in the fresh, frozen and defrosted state for tainted, decomposed or unwholesome conditions.

7.2 Equipment Required

  • candling table
  • calculator
  • measuring tape or ruler
  • examination tray, measuring approximately 30 x 50 cm
  • knife

7.3 Examination for Frozen State Defects

The frozen package of fillet or block is examined for presence of freezer burn, i.e. dehydration which can only be removed with a knife or other sharp instrument.

7.3.1 The area affected by dehydration is measured and the total surface of the fillets or blocks is determined. Inspectors shall then determine the percent of area affected by the following calculation:

  • % of dehydration = (Area Affected / Total Surface Area) x  100

7.4 Examination of Fresh or Defrosted Fillet or Block Packs Excluding Minced Fish

The fresh or defrosted sample unit is examined in its entirety. Each fillet is examined individually. Care should be exercised in separating the fillets to prevent tearing or mutilation.

7.4.1 Candling Procedures

Each fillet is individually examined on the illuminated candling table for presence of parasites, i.e. nematodes or copepods. Each parasite whether whole or in part or encapsulated is considered a parasite incidence. The examination is to be non-destructive in nature, that is, no slicing is permitted nor is the skin to be removed from skin-on fillets. The parasites are removed and the total number of incidents counted to determine the sample unit or entire sample compliance as per requirements in section 6.4 c) 2).

7.4.2 Determining the Cause for Rejection of a Fillet

Fillets within the sample units shall be classified according to whether they are acceptable or not acceptable. If not acceptable, the inspector will classify the fillet as decomposed, tainted or unwholesome. Should a fillet be both tainted and decomposed, for the purpose of the application of this standard and the interpretation of the sampling plan, the fillet is deemed to be decomposed. In the case of tainted or decomposed fillets, the inspector shall weigh the affected fillets, as necessary, to determine the percent of the sample unit which is affected by each category. The calculation is performed as follows:

  • % Decomposed fillets = (Weight of fillets affected / Declared weight of pack) x 100
  • % Tainted fillets = (Weight of fillets affected / Declared weight of pack) x 100

A similar calculation is made when jellied flesh (unwholesome) is encountered.

7.5 Examination of Minced Fish

Similar to the examination of fillet packs the entire sample unit of minced fish is examined. The following procedure should be used in the assessment of this product.

7.5.1 A sub-sample of 1 kg is extracted from the container and evenly spread on an examination tray to a depth of 1 cm. An assessment is then made under normal overhead lighting conditions for the presence of whole parasites which may be visible on the surface of the minced fish. The parasites are removed and the number of incidents counted and recorded. Following this, the minced fish is examined for tainted or decomposed conditions or other evidence of unwholesome conditions other than parasites.

The process of spreading a 1 kg sub-sample on the tray is repeated and examination made as described above until the entire sample unit is inspected. The decision on classifying minced fish is the same as outlined in section 7.4.2.

8. Classification of "Defectives"

A sample unit of fillets or blocks including minced fish is classified defective when one or more of the following conditions are encountered:

a) Decomposed, when more than 10% of the declared weight of the fish is found to be decomposed as described in section 6, the sample unit is considered decomposed and the lower acceptance number in parentheses is used to determine lot acceptance; or

b) Tainted, when more than 10% of the declared weight of the fish is found to be tainted as described in section 6, the sample unit is considered tainted and the regular acceptance number is used to determine lot acceptance; or

c) Tainted/Decomposed, when assessed individually the amounts of tainted or decomposed fish are each less than 10%, but when combined, the amount of tainted and decomposed fish exceeds more than 10% of the declared weight, the sample unit is rejected as tainted/decomposed and the regular acceptance number is used to determine lot acceptance.

d) Unwholesome, when:

  • the number of incidents of parasites exceed the tolerance as described in section 6.4 c) 2); or
  • the sample unit is affected by foreign matter; or
  • the sample unit is affected by dehydration on more than 10% of the total surface area; or
  • the presence of excessive jellied flesh exceeds 10% of the declared weight of the pack; or
  • the incidence of bones exceeds the tolerance prescribed in section 6.4 c) 4) in packs designated as boneless.

9. Lot Acceptance

A lot will fail the requirements of this standard when:

  1. any single instance of critical foreign matter is encountered; or
  2. the total number of sample units found defective for tainted, decomposed or unwholesome conditions, individually or in combination, exceeds the acceptance number for the sample size described in the sampling plans; or
  3. the total number of sample units found defective for decomposition exceeds the acceptance number shown in parentheses for the sample size described in the sampling plans.

Standard 2 - Fresh & Frozen Shrimp or Prawn Standard

PDF (31 kb)

1. Introduction

This standard for fresh and frozen shrimp* derives its authority from the Fish Inspection Regulations. It defines minimum acceptability of fresh and frozen shrimp for taint, decomposition, unwholesomeness and other requirements, other than weight, as defined in the Fish Inspection Act and Regulations and describes methods for determining that acceptability.

*Note: Throughout this document, the term "shrimp" will be used to denote both shrimps and prawns.

2. Scope

This standard applies to fresh, frozen and previously frozen shrimp prepared from species of any of the following families:

  • Penaeidae, Pandalidae, Crangonidae, Palaemonidae.

Fresh and frozen shrimp shall be prepared from sound, wholesome raw material processed using good manufacturing practices.

Documents used to determine good manufacturing practice and compliance include:

  1. Recommended International Code of Practice - General Principles of Food Hygiene, CAC/RCP 1-1969.
  2. Codex Alimentarius Sampling Plans for Prepackaged Foods (AQL 6.5) CAC/RM 42-1969.
  3. Recommended International Code of Practice for Fresh Fish, CAC/RCP 9-1976.
  4. Recommended International Code of Practice for Frozen Fish, CAC/RCP 16-1978.
  5. Recommended International Code of Practice for Quick Frozen Shrimps or Prawns, CAC/RS 92-1976.
  6. Code of Practice - General Principles of Food Hygiene for Use by the Food Industry in Canada, Health Protection Branch, Health and Welfare Canada, 1983.
  7. Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) - Shrimp Processing, Inspection Services, Department of Fisheries and Oceans, 1989.

3. Nomenclature

  1. The name of the product shall be "Shrimp", "Shrimps" or "Prawns".
  2. If desired, "X Shrimp", "X Shrimps" or "X Prawns" may be used where the "X" is the name of a country or a geographic area from which the shrimps originate, or where "X" is the common name of the species in accordance with the applicable sections of the Codex Alimentarius Recommended International Code of Practice for Quick-Frozen Shrimps.
  3. Any descriptive terms used, including those denoting style of presentation and size designation, must accurately reflect the contents of the unit. Note: If a size designation is declared, it must be expressed in terms of a count range. Terms such as "medium", "jumbo", etc. are unacceptable unless accompanied by a count range.

4. Forms of Product Preservation

Fresh and frozen shrimp may contain salt, lemon juice, citric acid, seasonings, sugars and other ingredients, such as permitted additives.

4.1 Style of Presentation

Shrimp may be presented in the following ways:

  1. Whole

    Shrimp which have the head, shell and tail fan on.

  2. Headless

    Shrimp on which the head has been completely removed, but with shell and tail fan on.

  3. Peeled, tail fan on

    Shrimp on which the head and shell have been removed down to the last segment, but with the shell on the last segment and the tail fan present.

  4. Peeled, tail fan removed

    Shrimp with the head, shell and tail fan removed.

  5. Peeled and Deveined (Peeled and Cleaned)

    In addition to having the head and shell removed, the vein has been removed.

  6. Butterfly Style (Fantail)

    In addition to having the head, shell and vein removed, the peeled segments of the shrimp have been split longitudinally through the dorsal axis into two sections which remain attached on the ventral side.

  7. Broken (Pieces)

    Pieces of shrimp containing less than 5 segments, for counts less than 150/kg (70/lb); or

    pieces of shrimp containing less than 4 segments, for counts greater than 150/kg (70/lb).

4.2 Other Presentations

Any other presentation of the product may be permitted provided that it:

  1. is sufficiently distinctive from the forms of presentation set out above; and
  2. meets all other Canadian regulatory requirements; and
  3. is adequately described on the label in accordance with all regulatory labelling requirements.

5. Sampling

The sampling and tolerance plans at the front of this manual shall be used to determine the acceptability of the lot. The sampling plans dictate the minimum sample size to be taken. If necessary, in the opinion of the inspector, more than the minimum sample size specified may be taken.

5.1 Sampling of lots for the sensory examination of the product shall be in accordance with the FAO/WHO Codex Alimentarius Sampling Plan for Prepackaged Foods (AQL 6.5) (CAC/RM 42-1969) except that a lower acceptance number for decomposition shall be used as indicated in the sampling tables.

The tables specify the minimum number of sample units to be used for the following types of inspections:

  1. Level I - Sensory examinations of all products subject to inspection other than lots which are subject to reinspection.
  2. Level II - Sensory examinations of all products which are under reinspection.

5.2 Size of Sample Unit

The sample unit shall consist of a package of shrimp and the contents thereof. For package sizes of 2.27 kg (5 lb) or greater, it is permissible to examine a sub-unit consisting of at least 1 kg of product, if, in the Inspector's opinion, a representative sub-unit can be obtained.

6. Description of Defects

6.1 Taint

A unit will be considered tainted when more than 10% of the number of shrimps in the unit are affected by any of the following conditions:

a) Rancid

Odour characterized by the distinct or persistent odour of oxidized oil; or

Flavour characterized by that of oxidized oil which leaves a distinct bitter aftertaste.

b) Abnormal

Distinct and persistent uncharacteristic odours or flavours such as burnt or acrid, metallic, or associated with feed, and not defined as rancid or decomposed.

6.2 Decomposition

A unit will be considered decomposed when more than 10% of the number of shrimps in the unit are affected by any of the following conditions:

a) Odour or flavour

Persistent, distinct and uncharacteristic odour or flavour including but not limited to the following:

  • ammonia, musty, yeasty, vegetable, sour, faecal, hydrogen sulphide, putrid.

b) Discolouration

  • Shrimp with distinct yellow, green or black, singly or in combination, discolouration of the flesh; or
  • Shrimp with faded pigment or liver stain in association with odour or flavour of decomposition.

c) Texture

Textural breakdown characterized by muscle structure which is mushy.

6.3 Unwholesome

a) Critical Foreign Material

A lot will be considered defective when any of the following conditions are found:

  • the presence of any material which has not been derived from shrimp and which poses a threat to human health (such as glass, etc.); or
  • distinct and persistent odour or flavour of any material which has not been derived from shrimp and which poses a threat to human health (such as solvents, fuel oil, etc.)

b) Foreign Material

A unit will be considered defective when the following condition is found:

  • the presence of readily detectable (without magnification) material which has not been derived from shrimp but does not pose a threat to human health (such as insect pieces, sand, etc.)

c) Other Defects

A unit will be considered defective when any of the following conditions are found:

  1. Blackspot

    In the case of shell-on shrimp, 25% or more of the shrimps in the unit contain distinct areas of black discolouration (melanosis) which cover greater than 10% of the area of the shell.

  2. Dehydration (Freezer burn)

    10% or more of the shrimp in the unit are affected by dehydration or freezer burn.

6.4 Failure to Meet a Standard of Identity

  1. Broken Shrimp

    A unit will be considered defective for broken shrimp if it contains greater than 5% m/m of broken shrimp when examined by the method outlined in section 7.

  2. Deveining (Cleaning)

    In the case of deveined shrimp, a unit will be considered defective for deveining if it is found to contain more than 5% by count of improperly cleaned or deveined shrimp, when examined using the method outlined in section 7.

  3. Size Designation

    When a count range is declared, a unit will be considered defective for size designation if the count is greater than the range specified on the label, when examined by the method outlined in section 7.

7. Examination Methods

7.1 Complete net weight determination, according to defined procedures (deglaze as required). If shrimp are breaded, examine for coating defects as defined in the standard for breaded products; remove breading as required according to defined procedures.

Note: For all product examinations conducted using sub-units, base all calculations on the actual weight or number of shrimps in the sub-unit, as appropriate.

7.2 Examine each unit for compliance to standards of identity as required.

When a size designation (count per lb or kg) is declared, count the number of whole shrimp present. Calculate the whole shrimp per lb or kg using the following formula:

  • (number of whole shrimp in unit / actual thawed wt. of unit (lb or kg)) = # shrimp/lb or /kg.

During this procedure, separate broken pieces and determine the percentage of broken shrimp present. The percentage of broken shrimp may be calculated using the following formula:

  • (weight of broken shrimp / actual thawed weight of unit) x 100 = % broken shrimp

Where shrimp is further described on the label, the product is examined for compliance. For example, compliance with the requirements for deveining is determined as follows:

  • (number of improperly deveined shrimp / number of shrimp in unit) x 100 = % improperly deveined

7.3 Examine shrimp for presence of dehydration by counting the number of shrimps in the unit containing any dehydration which can only be removed with a knife or other sharp instrument. Determine the percentage affected using the following formula:

  • (number of shrimp affected / number of shrimp in unit) x 100 = % affected by dehydration

7.4 Examine package and thawed shrimp for presence of foreign material. Assess shell-on shrimp for presence of blackspot; calculate the percentage of shrimp affected in the unit.

7.5 Assess colour. Calculate the percentage of shrimp with distinct yellow appearance and black discolouration of the flesh and shrimp affected by faded pigment or liver stain when in association with an odour or flavour of decomposition.

7.6 Assess odour. Assess flavour and texture as required.

Cooking procedures may be used for reinspection purposes only when, in the opinion of the inspector, cooking is required to define the flavour in order to render a decision on the acceptance or rejection of the sample unit. The unit is cooked according to the following procedure. For all unit sizes, cook the entire unit. This may be done using a boil-in-bag procedure, or by steaming or microwaving in a closed container, until the protein at the centre of the shrimp has coagulated. (Depending on the method chosen and the equipment available, cooking times may vary. For example, a 500 g thawed sample unit should require a cooking time of 3-4 minutes at a microwave power of 700 watts; the unit should be stirred once during this procedure to ensure even heating).

Let cool slightly, then assess odour, flavour and texture of cooked unit. Calculate percentage of unacceptable shrimps in the unit.

Note: When the amounts of tainted or decomposed shrimps are each less than 10%, but exceed 10% when combined, the unit is rejected, and is subject to the higher acceptance number (AQL 6.5) in the sampling and acceptance plan.

7.7 Record any defect for that unit on the appropriate worksheet.

8. Classification of "Defectives"

A sample unit shall be classified as defective when it fails the defects for decomposition, tainted or unwholesome conditions or the criteria for the standards of identity as described in section 6, or when more than 10% of the declared weight of the sample unit is affected by any combination of tainted or decomposed conditions.

9. Lot Acceptance

A lot will be considered unacceptable when:

  1. any single instance of critical foreign matter occurs; or
  2. the total number of sample units found defective for taint, decomposition or unwholesomeness, individually or in combination, exceeds the acceptance number for the sample size designated in the sampling plans; or
  3. the total number of sample units found defective for decomposition exceeds the acceptance number shown in parentheses for the sample size designated in the sampling plans; or
  4. the total number of sample units found defective for standards of identity (style of presentation) and size designation or count range (if a size designation or count range is declared), exceeds the acceptance number for the sample size designated in the sampling plans.

Standard 3 - General Fresh & Frozen Finfish Product Standard

PDF (36 kb)

1. Introduction

This general standard for packaged fresh and frozen finfish derives its authority from the Fish Inspection Regulations. It defines minimum acceptability of fresh and frozen fish for taint, decomposition, unwholesomeness and other requirements, other than weight, as defined in the Fish Inspection Act and Regulations and describes methods for determining that acceptability.

2. Scope

This standard applies to packaged fresh and frozen whole or dressed fish and fillets excluding those species covered by the Fresh and Frozen Groundfish Block and Fillet Standard or any other specific fresh or frozen product standard.

Fresh and frozen fish shall be prepared from sound, wholesome raw material processed using good manufacturing practices.

Documents used to determine good manufacturing practice and compliance include:

  1. Recommended International Code of Practice - General Principles of Food Hygiene, CAC/RCP 1-1969 Rev. 1.
  2. Codex Alimentarius Sampling Plans for Prepackaged Foods (AQL 6.5) CAC/RM 42-1969.
  3. Recommended International Code of Practice for Fresh Fish, CAC/RCP 9-1976.
  4. Recommended International Code of Practice for Frozen Fish, CAC/RCP 16-1978.
  5. Code of Practice - General Principles of Food Hygiene for Use by the Food Industry in Canada, Health Protection Branch, Health and Welfare Canada, 1983.

3. Nomenclature

The name of the product shall be that recognized in common usage in Canada and in accordance with the Fish Inspection Regulations and any requirements of the applicable Codex Alimentarius Recommended International Standard.

4. Forms of Product Presentation

4.1 Fresh and frozen finfish may be presented as uneviscerated, eviscerated, fillets or blocks with or without skin, scales or bones, as appropriate to the style of pack.

4.2 Fresh and frozen finfish may also be presented as minced fish blocks.

4.3 Any other presentation of the product may be permitted provided that it:

  1. is sufficiently distinctive from the forms of presentation set out in 4.1 and 4.2; and
  2. meets all other Canadian regulatory requirements; and
  3. is adequately described on the label and in accordance with all regulatory labelling requirements.

5. Sampling

The sampling and tolerance plans at the front of this manual shall be used to determine the acceptability of the lot. The sampling plans dictate the minimum sample size to be taken. If necessary, in the opinion of the inspector, more than the minimum sample size specified may be taken.

5.1 Sampling of lots for the sensory examination of the product shall be in accordance with the FAO/WHO Codex Alimentarius Sampling Plan for Prepackaged Foods (AQL 6.5) (CAC/RM 42-1969) except that a lower acceptance number for decomposition shall be used as indicated in the sampling tables.

The tables specify the minimum number of sample units to be used for the following types of inspections:

  1. Level I - Sensory examination of all products subject to inspection other than lots which are subject to reinspection.
  2. Level II - Sensory examination of all products which are under reinspection.

5.2 Size of Sample Unit

The sample unit shall consist of a container of fish and the contents thereof.

In the case of large containers (sample unit sizes of 10 kg or greater) of bulk packaged fresh or individually frozen whole or dressed fish or fresh or individually frozen fillets, the individual fish or fillet can be considered the sample unit for the purpose of collecting samples for examination.

6. Description of Defects

6.1 Taint

A unit will be considered tainted when more than 10% of the declared weight is affected by any of the following conditions:

a) Rancid

Odour characterized by the distinct or persistent odour of oxidized oil; or

Flavour characterized by that of oxidized oil which leaves a distinct bitter aftertaste.

b) Abnormal

Distinct and persistent uncharacteristic odours or flavours such as burnt or acrid, metallic, associated with feed or strong iodoform and not defined as rancid or decomposed.

6.2 Decomposition

A unit will be considered decomposed when more than 10% of the declared weight is affected by any of the following conditions:

a) Odour or flavour

Persistent, distinct and uncharacteristic odour or flavour including but not limited to the following:

  • ammonia, bilge, faecal, fruity, hydrogen sulphide, musty, putrid, saltfish-like, sour, sour milk-like, vegetable, and yeasty.

b) Discolouration

Fish showing abnormal discolouration of the flesh, such as green or black as associated with decomposition.

c) Texture

Textural breakdown of the flesh associated with decomposition which is characterized by muscle structure which is very tough or dry, or muscle structure which is mushy, or in the case of whole or dressed fish, perforated bellies or broken bellies or belly walls, caused by enzymatic action.

6.3 A sample unit shall be classified as defective when more than 10% of the declared weight of the sample unit is affected by any combination of tainted or decomposed conditions.

6.4 Unwholesome

a) Critical Foreign Material

A lot will be considered defective when any of the following conditions are found:

  • the presence of any material which has not been derived from fish and which poses a threat to human health (such as glass, etc.); or
  • distinct and persistent odour or flavour of any material which has not been derived from fish and which poses a threat to human health (such as solvents, fuel oil, etc.)

b) Foreign Material

A unit will be considered defective when the following condition is found:

  • the presence of readily detectable material which has not been derived from fish but does not pose a threat to human health (such as insect pieces, sand, etc.)

c) Other Defects

A unit will be considered defective when any of the following conditions are found:

  1. Dehydration (Freezer burn)
    More than 10% of the declared weight of the fish or fillets in the unit are affected by dehydration affecting more than 10% of their surface area.
  2. Parasites
    Only nematodes or copepod parasites having capsular diameter of greater than 3 mm or, if not encapsulated, a length of greater than 10 mm will be considered in determining whether the lot is acceptable with respect to parasites. For packs of 1 kg and greater, the presence of 2 or more parasites per kg of sample unit will result in rejection of the sample. For packs of less than 1 kg, the presence of parasites at a rate of infestation greater than an average of 1 parasite per kg of total sample will result in rejection of the sample. For example, a sample consisting of 13 units of 500g each would be rejected if 7 or more parasites were found.
    The following parasite occurrences will result in the sample unit being classified as defective
    Pack Size Reject Parasite Level
    1 kg Use average as described above
    5 lb 3
    10 lb 5
    15 lb 7
    16.5 lb 8
    18.5 lb 9
    20 lb 10
    50 lb 23
  3. Bones (Boneless packs only)
    One bone 1 mm in diameter or 10 mm in length per kg fish.
  4. Undesireable Parts
    Each incidence of viscera.

7. Examination Methods

7.1 Complete net weight determination, according to defined procedures (deglaze as required).

7.2 Examine the frozen fish for the presence of dehydration by measuring those areas which can only be removed with a knife or other sharp instrument. Measure the total surface area of the fish or fillet, and determine the percentage affected using the following formula:

  • (area affected  / total surface area) x 100 = % affected by dehydration

7.3 Thaw as necessary. The fresh or defrosted fish or fillets in the entire unit are examined individually for the presence of foreign matter, undesirable parts, nematodes and copepods, and other parasites with defined tolerances. Parasite examination for nematodes and copepods will be non-destructive, that is the fish are not filleted or the skin removed from fillets to assist in parasite detection. The parasites are removed and the total number of incidents counted to determine sample unit compliance.

7.4 Each entire sample unit of fresh or defrosted fillets is examined in its entirety for odour, colour and texture. In the case of a reinspection, where an inspector is unable to make a decision on acceptance or rejection of a unit without evaluating flavour, the portion of the unit requiring confirmation of odour/flavour may be cooked using a boil-in-bag or similar procedure, or by oven heating or microwaving in a closed container, until the protein at the centre of the fish has coagulated. (Depending on the method chosen and the equipment available, cooking times may vary. For example, a 500 g thawed sample unit should require a cooking time of 3-4 minutes at a microwave power of 700 watts; the unit should be turned once during this procedure to ensure even heating.).

Let cool slightly, then assess odour, flavour and texture of cooked unit. Calculate percentage of unacceptable fish in the unit.

7.5 In the case of whole or dressed fish, the entire sample unit is to be examined in its presented form, using the criteria outlined in Section 5, for the determination of taint, decomposition and unwholesomeness. A thorough examination is to be made of the belly walls for evidence of perforated or broken bellies caused by enzymatic action of the stomach content (autolysis). Should there be evidence of perforated or broken belly walls or other signs of decomposition then the entire unit is further examined for flesh odours by tearing or making a cut across the back of the neck such that the exposed surface flesh can be evaluated for decomposition or taint.

Where no broken or perforated bellies are encountered, a minimum of at least 10% of the declared weight of each unit, or a minimum of 10 fish, whichever is greater, will be further examined for flesh odours by tearing or making a cut across the back of the neck.

7.6 Record defects on the appropriate worksheet.

8. Classification of "Defectives"

A sample unit shall be classified as "defective" when it fails the defects for decomposition, tainted, or unwholesome conditions as described in section 6, or when more than 10% by declared weight of the sample unit is affected by any combination of tainted or decomposed conditions.

9. Lot Acceptance

A lot will be considered unacceptable when:

  1. any single instance of critical foreign matter occurs; or
  2. the total number of sample units found defective for taint, decomposition or unwholesomeness, individually or in combination, exceeds the acceptance number for the sample size designated in the sampling plans; or
  3. the total number of sample units found defective for decomposition exceeds the acceptance number shown in parentheses for the sample size designated in the sampling plans.

Standard 4 - Fresh and frozen Scallop Standard

PDF (36 kb)

1. Introduction

This standard for fresh or frozen scallop meats, scallops with roe attached, and whole scallops derives its authority from the Fish Inspection Act and Regulations. It defines minimum acceptability for taint, decomposition, unwholesomeness and other requirements, other than weight, as defined in the Fish Inspection Act and Regulations and describes methods for determining that acceptability.

2. Scope

This standard applies to all fresh or frozen or previously frozen shucked-scallop meats (adductor muscle) with or without roe attached and whole scallops from any species of the family Pectinidae.

Fresh or frozen scallops shall be prepared from sound, wholesome raw material processed using good manufacturing practices.

Documents used to determine good manufacturing practice and compliance include:

  1. Recommended International Code of Practice - General Principles of Food Hygiene, CAC/RCP 1-1969 Rev. 1.
  2. Codex Alimentarius Sampling Plans for Prepackaged Foods (AQL 6.5) CAC/RM 42-1969.
  3. Recommended International Code of Practice for Fresh Fish, CAC/RCP 9-1976.
  4. Recommended International Code of Practice for Frozen Fish, CAC/RCP 16-1978.
  5. Code of Practice - General Principles of Food Hygiene for Use by the Food Industry in Canada, Health Protection Branch, Health and Welfare Canada, 1983.

3. Nomenclature

The name of the product shall be "Scallops" or "Scallop Meats" except as noted below:

  1. Scallops of the species Argopecten gibbus and Argopecten irradians shall be designated as "Calico Scallops" and "Bay Scallops" respectively.
  2. If desired, "X Scallops" may be used where "X" is the name of a country or geographic area from which the scallops originate, or where "X" is the common name of the species.
  3. Whole scallops and scallops with roe attached shall be designated as such.
  4. Pieces of scallop meats shall be identified with an appropriate name such as "Scallop Pieces".
  5. Any descriptive terms used must accurately represent the contents of the container.
  6. Green Tube is defined as the rear portion of the intestinal tract which is normally green in colour but may be white or gray.
  7. Viscera is defined as all internal organs including roe, but does not include the rear portion of the intestinal tract, referred to as the "green tube".
  8. Adductor Muscle With Roe Attached: It is recognised that viscera for Adductor Muscle With Roe Attached means all viscera except the roe.

4. Forms of Product Presentation

4.1 Adductor Muscle Only

  1. Fresh - Whole adductor muscles.
  2. IQF - Individually quick-frozen whole adductor muscles.
  3. Block - Whole adductor muscles frozen together in a uniform block.

4.2 Adductor Muscle with Roe Attached

  1. Fresh - Whole adductor muscles with roe attached.
  2. IQF - Individually quick-frozen whole adductor muscles with roe attached.
  3. Block - Whole adductor muscles with roe attached frozen together in a uniform block.

4.3 Whole Scallops

  1. Fresh - Live scallops marketed in the shell.
  2. IQF - Individually quick-frozen whole scallops marketed in the shell.

4.4 Other Presentations

Any other presentation of the product may be permitted provided that it:

  1. is sufficiently distinctive from the forms of presentation set out above;
  2. meets all Canadian regulatory requirements; and
  3. is adequately described on the label and in accordance with all regulatory labelling requirements.

5. Sampling

The sampling and tolerance plans, found in the Sampling Section of the Fish Products Standards and Methods Manual, shall be used to determine the acceptability of the lot. The sampling plans dictate the minimum sample size to be taken. If in the opinion of the inspector it is necessary to obtain more than the minimum sample size specified, the number of sample units taken must correspond to a sample size in the plan with a corresponding acceptance number.

5.1

Sampling of lots for the sensory examination of the product shall be in accordance with the FAO/WHO Codex Alimentarius Sampling Plan for Prepackaged Foods (AQL 6.5) (CAC/RM 42-1969) except that a lower acceptance number for decomposition shall be used as indicated in the sampling tables. The tables specify the minimum number of sample units to be used for the following types of inspections:

  1. Level I - Sensory examination of all products subject to inspection other than lots which are subject to re-inspection.
  2. Level II - Sensory examination of all products which are under re-inspection.

5.2 Size of Sample Unit

The sample unit shall consist of a container of scallops and the entire contents thereof.

For IQF and fresh bulk packages 2.00 kilograms or greater, a 1 kilogram sub-sample of product may be obtained if the sub-sample is representative. When sub-samples are taken, each sub-sample shall be obtained from a different unit.

If a representative sub-sample cannot be obtained the entire unit must be examined.

6. Description of Defects

6.1 Taint

A unit will be considered tainted when more than 10% of the actual weight is affected by any of the following conditions:

  1. Rancid

    Odour characterised by the distinct or persistent odour of oxidized oil; or

    Flavour characterised by that of oxidized oil which leaves a distinct bitter aftertaste.

  2. Abnormal

    Distinct and persistent uncharacteristic odours or flavours such as metallic, burnt or acrid and not defined as rancid or decomposed.

6.2 Decomposition

A unit will be considered decomposed when more than 10% of the actual weight is affected by the following condition:

Odour or Flavour

Persistent, distinct and uncharacteristic odour or flavour associated with spoilage, including but not limited to the following:

6.3 Taint/Decomposed

A sample unit shall be classified as defective when more than 10% of the actual weight of the sample unit is affected by any combination of tainted or decomposed conditions.

6.4 Unwholesome

6.4.1 Foreign Material

  1. Critical Foreign Material

    A lot will be considered defective for all forms of product presentation when any of the following conditions are found:

    1. the presence of any material which poses a threat to human health (such as glass, etc.); or
    2. distinct and persistent odour or flavour of any material which poses a threat to human health (such as solvents, fuel oil, etc.)
  2. Foreign Material

    A unit will be considered defective for all forms of product presentation when the following condition is found:

    1. the presence of readily detectable material which has not been derived from scallops but does not pose a threat to human health (such as insect pieces, wood, etc., except sand and seaweed as described below).
  3. Habitat-Related Foreign Material

    A unit will be considered defective for all forms of product presentation when any of the following conditions are found:

    1. piece(s) of seaweed which measures 25 mm in any dimension singularly or in combination, based on a unit size of 1 kg and pro-rated to smaller or larger sample units; or
    2. the presence of sand affecting more than 10% of the sample unit by weight.

6.4.2 Undesirable Parts

A unit will be considered defective for all forms of product presentation when the following condition is found:

  1. piece(s) of shell fragments which measure greater than 10 mm in any dimension singularly or in combination, based on a unit size of 1 kg and pro-rated to smaller or larger sample units.

6.4.3 Other Defects

A lot will be considered defective for all forms of product presentation when any of the following conditions are found:

a) Moisture Content

Scallop meats exceeding the action level of 81.0% for moisture content.

b) Viscera Excluding Green Tube

Scallop meats, scallops with roe attached, and whole scallops must satisfy the requirement of the policy relating to biotoxins as determined by Health Canada and documented in the Canadian Guidelines for Chemical Contaminants and Toxins in Fish and Fish Products, Fish Seafood and Production Division, Canadian Food Inspection Agency (see Appendix A).

The requirements of the Canadian Shellfish Sanitation Program (CSSP) to control marine biotoxins in Adductor Muscle With Roe Attached and Whole Scallops (live in shell) must also be satisfied.

Note: The presence of a trace amount of membrane or a stain, due to viscera, roe, etc. is not a defect for the purpose of this standard.

A unit will be considered defective for all forms of product presentation when any of the following conditions are found:

c) Workmanship Defect - Viscera Excluding Green Tube

The presence of viscera affecting more than 10% of the sample by weight, where it has been demonstrated that the toxicity associated with the viscera satisfies the requirements of the policy relating to biotoxins according to section 6.4.3 b).

d) Dehydration (Freezer Burn)

e) Parasites

For packs of 1 kg and greater, when the number of parasites per kg of sample unit is equal to or greater than 2.

For packs of less than 1 kg, when an average parasite per kg of the total sample is equal to or greater than 1.

Example:

A sample consisting of 13 sample units each weighing 500 grams would be considered defective if 7 or more parasites were found.

Total weight of sample: 500 g x 13 = 6.5 kg

Parasites per kilogram: 7 parasites/6.5 kg = 1.07

Calico Scallops: For the species Agropectin gibbus, the presence of parasites affecting equal to or greater than 10% of the sample by weight.

f) Green Tube

When the rear portion of the intestinal tract, the "green tube", is longer than the catch muscle and more than 10% by weight of the scallops in the pack are affected by the presence of the "green tube" (see Appendix B).

6.5 Standard of Identity

a) Size Designation

When a count range is declared, a sample unit will be considered defective if the count is greater than the range specified on the label.

b) Scallop Meats

A 5% tolerance by sample weight will be applied to the presence of pieces of scallop meats found in scallop packs. Product exceeding this tolerance shall be identified with an appropriate name such as "Scallop Pieces".

"Scallop Pieces"

When the product is graded according to count, a scallop is considered to be a scallop piece when the weight of the scallop piece is less than fifty percent (50%) of the average weight of ten (10) whole scallops representing the highest count in the pack.

Example: 30-40 count pack

  • Average weight of ten (10) whole scallops representing the highest count in the pack: In this example, add together the weight of ten whole scallops representing the 40 count and divide the total weight by ten. (11.4 + 11.6 + 11.4 + 11.6 + 11.8 + 11.6 + 11.8 + 11.6 + 11.6 + 11.4)/10 = 11.58 grams
  • Fifty percent (50%) of the average weight: 11.58 x .5 = 5.79 grams
  • Scallop Piece: any piece of scallop less than 5.79 grams.

When the product is not graded according to count, a scallop will be considered to be a scallop piece when the weight of the scallop piece is less than fifty percent (50%) of the average weight of ten (10) whole scallops contained in the pack.

Example:

  • average weight of ten (10) whole scallops contained in the pack: Add together the weight of ten whole scallops in the pack and divide the total weight by ten. (9.1 + 9.3 + 9.5 + 9.5 + 9.4 + 9.6 + 9.4 + 9.3 + 9.2 + 9.2)/10 = 9.35 grams
  • fifty percent (50%) of the average weight: 9.35 x .5 = 4.67 grams
  • Scallop Piece: any scallop piece less than 4.67 grams.

7. Examination Methods

The methodology described in this section outlines the procedure for the examination of scallop products. The examination shall be made on final products in the fresh, frozen and/or defrosted state for tainted, decomposed or unwholesome conditions and for failure to meet standards of identity.

7.1 Examination for Frozen State Defects

The frozen scallops in the container are examined for the presence of freezer burn, i.e., dehydration which can only be removed with a knife or other sharp instrument.

7.1.1 Dehydration - Block

The area affected by dehydration is measured and the total surface area of the block is determined. Inspectors shall then determine the percent area affected by using the following calculation:

% of dehydration = (Area affected/Total surface area) x 100

7.1.2 Dehydration - IQF

In the case of IQF scallops, the weight of individual scallops affected by dehydration is determined. The total weight of scallops in the sample unit is also determined. Inspectors shall then calculate the percentage of scallops affected by using the following calculation:

% of scallops affected = (Weight of affected scallops/Weight of scallops in sample unit)  x 100

7.2 Examination of Fresh or Defrosted Scallop Packs

The fresh or defrosted sample unit is examined in its entirety for defects.

7.3 Determining the Cause for Rejection of a Sample Unit

Scallops within the sample units shall be classified according to whether they are acceptable or not acceptable. If not acceptable, the scallops will be classified as decomposed, tainted or unwholesome. Should the scallops be both tainted and decomposed, for the purpose of the application of this standard and the interpretation of the sampling plan, the scallops are deemed to be decomposed. In the case of tainted and/or decomposed scallops, the affected scallops are weighed to determine the percent of the sample unit which is affected in each category. The calculation is performed as follows:

% Decomposed scallops = (Weight of scallops affected/Actual weight of sample) x 100

% Tainted scallops =  (Weight of scallops affected/Actual weight of sample) x 100

8. Classification of "defectives"

A sample unit of scallops shall be classified as defective when one or more of the following conditions are encountered:

  1. Decomposed: When more than 10% of the actual weight of the scallops, as calculated in section 7.3 are found to be decomposed, the sample unit is considered decomposed as described in section 6.2.
  2. Tainted: When more than 10% of the actual weight of the scallops, as calculated in section 7.3 are found to be tainted, the sample unit is considered tainted as described in section 6.1.
  3. Tainted/Decomposed: The sample unit is considered tainted/decomposed when assessed individually and the quantity of tainted or decomposed scallops is each less than 10%, as calculated in section 7.3, but when in combination the quantity of tainted and decomposed scallops exceeds 10% of the actual weight, the sample unit is tainted/decomposed as described in section 6.3.
  4. Unwholesome when:
    1. the sample unit is affected by the presence of foreign material which exceeds the tolerance described in section 6.4.1 b) or c); or
    2. the sample unit is affected by the presence of undesirable parts which exceeds the tolerance described in 6.4.2; or
    3. the sample unit is affected by the presence of other defects which exceeds the tolerances as described in section 6.4.3.
  5. Standard Of Identity when:
    1. the count of scallop meats in the sample unit is greater than the declared count; or
    2. a unit labelled as scallop meats contains more than 5% by weight of Scallop Pieces.

9. Lot Acceptance

A lot will fail the requirements of this standard when:

  1. any single instance of critical foreign matter is encountered; or
  2. an occurrence of viscera presents a health and safety hazard due to the presence of marine biotoxin; or
  3. scallop meats exceed the action level for moisture content pursuant to the policy in the Fish Products Inspection Manual; or
  4. the total number of sample units found defective for tainted, decomposed or unwholesome conditions, individually or in combination, exceeds the acceptance number for the sample size designated in the sampling plans; or
  5. the total number of sample units found defective for decomposition exceeds the acceptance number shown in parentheses for the sample size designated in the sampling plans; or
  6. the total number of sample units found defective for standard of identity exceeds the acceptance number for the sample size designated in the sampling plans.

Appendix A

Marine Biotoxins in Scallops

Marine biotoxins constitute a health and safety hazard associated with scallops. Marine biotoxins accumulate predominantly in the viscera of the scallop, although low levels of amnesic shellfish poison and paralytic shellfish poison may occur in the adductor muscle. Processors and importers of scallops in Canada are required to control the chemical hazard of marine biotoxins in scallops.

Control is accomplished by:

  1. producing scallops which are free of viscera, as determined by a sampling plan described by the International Commission on Microbiological Specifications for Foods1 (ICMSF). That is, for any lot size, sample size (n) = 5; acceptance number (c) = 0; or
  2. if lots contain viscera in excess of the incidence described above in (a), test the lot for toxicity in accordance with the Canadian Guidelines for Chemical Contaminants and Toxins in Fish and Fish Products.

1See ICMFS "Microorganisms in Foods 2, Sampling for Microbiological Analysis: Principles and Specific Applications", Ch. 3, Table 2, pg. 22.

Appendix B

Adductor Muscle in Scallops

adductor muscle in scallops. description follows.

Description of Schematic - Adductor Muscle in Scallops

SMAM: Smooth adductor muscle also known as the "catch muscle"

STAM: Striated adductor muscle also known as the "scallop meat"