The FSSAI has proposed amendments in standards to the regulation dealing with Fish and Fish products in the Food Safety and Standards (Food Products Standards and Food Additives) Regulations, 2011. The proposed standards have been dealt with briefly here.
Frozen shrimps have been defined as a frozen product that may be raw or partially and full cooked, peeled or unpeeled and includes prawns.Frozen finfish are finfish species suitable for human consumption. Frozen fillets are slices of fish boneless or otherwise which are removed from the carcass of the same species of fish suitable for human consumption by cuts made parallel to the backbone and sections of such fillets cut so as to facilitate packing, and further processing. Frozen cephalopods are products of frozen raw cephalopods and parts of raw cephalopods and offered for direct consumption and for further processing and prepared from squid, cuttlefish and octopus.
Standards proposed for frozen fish products
- The freezing process will not be considered complete unless it has reached the temperature of -18ºC at the thermal centre.
- The water used for cooking, cooling, glazing must be potable water (IS: 10500) or clean seawater with same microbiological standards as potable water.
- The products shall be kept deep frozen so as to maintain the quality during transportation, storage and distribution.
- Frozen products shall be processed and packaged so as to minimise dehydration and oxidation.
- Repacking will be under controlled conditions to maintain quality and reapplication of freezing process
- Other ingredients shall be of food grade quality and conform to all applicable standards prescribed in these regulations.
- Where applicable raw material shall not contain more than 100 mg/Kg of histamine. This shall only apply to species of Carangidae, Chanidae, Clupeidae, Coryphaenidae, Engraulidae, Istiophoridae, Mugilidae, Pristigasteridae, Scombridae and Xiphiidae.
Smoked fishery products means the product smoked, smoke-flavoured and smoke-dried fish prepared from fresh, chilled or frozen raw material and could be whole fish, fillets and sliced. The manner of processing has been defined and the standard applies to fish, either for direct consumption, for further processing, or for addition into speciality or minced products where fish constitutes only part of the product. Smoked fish can be
- Smoked fish which has undergone a hot or cold smoking process
- Smoke-dried fish is prepared from a combination smoking and drying process and may include a salting process and have added spices and other ingredients.
- Smoke-flavoured fish is prepared with smoke flavours, without employing a smoking process.
Ready –to-Eat Finfish or Shell Fish Curry in Retortable Pouches
Ready-To-Eat Finfish/Shellfish Curry in Retortable Pouches is prepared from finfish or shellfish species of sound quality without any visible sign of decomposition. The product is prepared from the edible portions of sound fish, packed in gravy of spices, vegetable fat and other ingredients appropriate to the product and heat processed by an appropriate manner after being sealed in a container so as to prevent spoilage.
Canned fishery products means canned finfish, crustaceans and molluscs solid packed or packed in oil, water or other suitable medium. The product shall be presented in one of the following packing media: 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 above mentioned products
- require a processing treatment sufficient to ensure commercial sterility
- Shall have the odour, flavour and colour characteristic of the product. The bones shall be soft and yielding.
- The contents of the pouch or can on opening shall not display any appreciable disintegration. The percentage disintegrated portions of the fish, calculated on the basis of the drained mass shall not exceed 5 % based on the average of five pouches.
- The product shall be free from foreign materials such as sand, dirt and insects, objectionable odour, or flavour.
Sardine oil means the product shall be prepared from fresh or well preserved or frozen sound wholesome oil sardine fish and will be prepared by cooking pressing and separating oil from press liquor by centrifugation or by any other suitable means.
- will be free from foreign matters in settled or suspended condition, and separated water
- bright and clear liquid when heated to a temperature of 40°C
- will not contain any other oil including mineral oils
- free from foul and offensive putrefactive odour and should have only characteristic fish- oil odour
- will be greenish straw light golden yellow or light brown colour
Edible fish powder means the product prepared from non-oily white fish like sprats, either from a single species or their mixture. The fish need not be dressed but washed and cooked well for the preparation of the powder. Poisonous fish like marine snakes, elasmobranch fish with a high quantity of urea, oily fish and fish with black viscera are not considered suitable for preparation of edible fish powder.
Edible fish powder shall
- Be a fine powder free from needle like bones and blend easily with cereal flours. fineness must be such that it passes completely through a 100-mesh sieve
- Colour shall be faint yellow and it must have characteristic flavour and taste of dry fish. It shall be free from rancidity and off-flavours.
- No organic solvent or chemicals shall be used in its preparation.
Fish pickle should have a good uniform colour and appearance and shall be practically free from defects, visible fungal growth and disintegration of meat. The material shall possess a good texture, shall not be unduly hard, or tough, and shall be free from development of any softening
- Must have characteristic pleasant aroma and flavour and shall be devoid of any objectionable off – taste smell or odour.
- artificial colouring matter and firming agents other than edible common salt and vinegar cannot be used
- Packaging of pickled fish requires special attention
Frozen minced fish meat is prepared from clean and fresh fish which do not show any signs of degradation and spoilage. The fish shall be gutted; the tail, entrails, bones, tips, skin, head and other non- edible portion shall be removed and eviscerated and cleaned in potable water. Once prepared the material will be quickly frozen at a temperature not exceeding -30˚C in polyethylene wrappers and packed in waxed cartons in the minimum possible time. The quick frozen material shall be stored in the cold storage at a temperature not less than -23 ˚C.
Freeze dried prawns (Shrimp) means the product freeze dried prawns and must be prepared from clean, wholesome and fresh prawns.
Frozen clam meat shall be of following two types
- Raw Frozen Clam Meat (RFCM)
- Cooked Frozen Clam Meat (CFCM)
Freeze dried prawns and frozen clam meat must not show any visible sign of spoilage and meat shall be firm. The colour and odour will be that of freshly caught variety of the fish being processed. Water used in the processing shall be of potable quality and shall contain 5 mg/kg available chlorine.
Common standards for fish products
- only regulation permitted food additives may be used
- Hygienic preparation and handling will be in accordance with the guidelines provided in part-II of Schedule 4 of the Food Safety and Standards (Licensing and Regulation of Food Businesses) Regulations, 2011 and any other such guidance provided from time to time.
- The products covered in this standard shall comply with the Food Safety and Standards (Contaminants, Toxins and Residues) Regulations, 2011.
- The products covered in this standard shall confirm to the microbiological requirements as given in Appendix B of these regulations.
- The products shall comply with the packaging and labelling requirements as laid down under the Food Safety and Standards (Packaging and Labelling), Regulations, 2011 and shall apply to the pre-packaged product.