Labelling requirements for fish and fish products
Certain descriptive terms are required on prepackaged fish products that are imported to Canada, exported from Canada or that are interprovincially traded. Unless otherwise indicated, these descriptive terms must be shown on any part of the label other than solely on the bottom of the container, and for consumer prepackaged fish products, in characters of at least 1.6 mm (1/16 inch) in height [210, 245(2) and (3), SFCR]. For more information, refer to the Legibility and Location page of the Industry Labelling Tool for requirements that apply to all foods.
Uniform rectangular portions of breaded minced fish
Uniform rectangular portions of breaded minced fish require descriptive terms, such as made from minced fish, to indicate that the product is manufactured or prepared from minced fish. Those terms must be located in close proximity to the common name and must either be printed in letters not less than one-half the height of the letters used for the common name or in characters that are at least 1.6 mm tall, whichever of the two options is greatest [262(1)(e), 262(3), SFCR].
Hermetically sealed tuna
The labels on all packages of hermetically sealed tuna must indicate the colour of the fish flesh [262(1)(g), SFCR]:
- "White Meat Tuna" / "chair de thon blanc" or "White Tuna" / "thon blanc" (only tuna of the species Thunnus alalunga)
- "Light Meat Tuna" / "chair pâle de thon" or "Light Tuna" / "thon pâle"
- "Dark Meat Tuna" / "chair foncée de thon" or "Dark Tuna" / "thon foncé"
Transverse cuts of salmon placed in a hermetically sealed package after the skin and vertebrae have been removed must bear the words "Skinless" / "sans peau" or "Boneless" / "sans os" or "sans arête" on its label [262(1)(a), SFCR].
Salmon in a hermetically sealed package may also be sold as minced salmon, tail and nape trimmings, or small pieces. These products must bear the descriptive terms "Minced" / "haché" or "Salmon Tips" / "bouts de saumon", depending on the situation [262(1)(b), SFCR].
Unfrozen lobster meat packaged without the addition of brine must bear the expression "Dry Pack" / "emballage à sec" [262(1)(c), SFCR]. Prepackaged (definition) frozen lobster meat must contain the expression "Frozen Lobster Meat" / "chair de homard congelée" [262(1)(d), SFCR].
The labels on salted fish must describe the processing of the fish using terms such as "Split Fish" / "poisson fendu", "Split Fish with Entire Backbone" / "poisson fendu avec colonne vertébrale entière", or "Fillet" / "filet" [262(1)(h), SFCR]. The labels must also describe the salt and/or moisture content of the fish using the appropriate expression [262(1)(i), SFCR]:
- "Slack Salted Fish" / "poisson faiblement salé", when salt is ≤ 25% dry weight
- "Light Salted Fish" / "poisson légèrement salé", when salt is ˃ 25% but ≤ 33% dry weight
- "Dried Heavy Salted Fish" / "poisson fortement salé séché", when salt is > 33% and moisture is ≤ 54%
- "Green Heavy Salted Fish" / "poisson fortement salé en vert", when salt is > 33% and moisture is between 54% and 65%
The label for bivalve molluscs in the shell and not in a hermetically sealed package must be correctly and legibly marked to show the date of processing and have an expression, code or identifier that indicates the location from which the bivalve molluscs were harvested [262(1)(f), SFCR].
The harvest location of the bivalve molluscs is the most precise identification as practical, such as the name of geographic area, lease number, harvest area identifier and/or sub-area if applicable. For any other activities listed below the location from which live bivalve molluscs were harvested is considered to be:
- the relay site
Nearshore wet storage:
- if bivalve molluscs are wet stored for less than 14 days, the original harvest location prior to wet storage
- if bivalve molluscs are wet stored for 14 days or greater, the harvest location of the nearshore site
Onshore wet storage:
- if bivalve molluscs are wet stored in an untreated flow through system for less than 14 days, the original harvest location
- if bivalve molluscs are wet stored in an untreated flow through system for 14 days or greater, the harvest location of the source water
- if bivalve molluscs are wet stored in a system with treated water or synthetic water, the original harvest location regardless of the duration of storage
Wet storage after relay:
- nearshore or onshore criteria above applies except the original harvest location becomes the relay site
Land based aquaculture:
- if bivalve molluscs are grown in a land based aquaculture facility using treated or synthetic water, the harvest location is identified as the licence number issued by the authority permitting this activity
For policies and criteria that apply to the harvesting of bivalve molluscs, refer to the Canadian Shellfish Sanitation Program manual.
Use of filtered smoke
For fish processed using filtered smoke, absence of a descriptor indicating the presence of filtered smoke in close proximity to the common name may be considered misleading. Acceptable statements include:
- "(Colour – optional) preserved with filtered wood smoke" or "(Colour – optional) preserved with purified smoke" or other similar statements identifying clearly that the colour of the fish is not natural but was altered,
- "Processed with filtered wood smoke as a preservative (for color retention - optional)", or
- "Produced using filtered wood smoke"
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