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How the CAFIA check meat content in frozen fish products

04/30/2008
 

The Czech Agriculture and Food Inspection Authority have been paying attention to the marketing of frozen fish products for a long time. Three years ago, it was usual to find products without the content of fish meat and water declared on the packaging on the market. Since such cases were common, the Inspection Authority dealt with this problem also by negotiating with producers who were members of the Food Chamber of the Czech Republic.

Pressure by the CAFIA has produced its results, for nowadays the majority of producers or distributors label these products in line with the regulations. If the name or packaging of the product indicates the type of the fish, its quantity must be specified in the composition of the product, for example, as a percentage of weight or volume. Although the composition does not have to include specific content of water, its amount can be estimated by ingredients that are given in descending order by weight, or by the content of fish meat. If the composition is, for example, “cod 60%, water, E452…”, it means that together with the fish consumer purchases almost 40% of water. The substance E452 stands for polyphosphates that are used to retain water in the fish.

Although there has been a positive change, not all producers comply with this obligation. The results of CAFIA inspections reveal that the real content of fish meat is often lower than declared on the packaging. To determine the content of meat in fish products the CAFIA use laboratory method accredited by the Czech Accreditation Institute. If the analysis proves that a product contains less meat than the tolerance, the CAFIA initiate administrative proceedings against the person inspected. The CAFIA can impose fine only on seller who had sold such a product, not on its producer, because the sale and import of food of animal origin falls within the competence of the State Veterinary Administration of the Czech Republic. Information about such a case investigated by the CAFIA is therefore transmitted to the SVA.


Author: RNDr. Daniela Kolejková - 55344 CSc. - Czech Agriculture and Food Inspection Authority