The FSSAI has notified the final Gazette Notification on the Food Safety and Standards (Food Products Standards and Food Additives) Eleventh Amendment Regulations, 2017 relating to the final revision of vertical standards on fish and fisheries products. The FSSAI has revised the standards for frozen shrimp, frozen finfish, and frozen fish fillets. The FSSAI has also prescribed comprehensive standards for canned fishery products and standards for frozen cephalopods, smoked fishery products, ready-to-eat finfish/shellfish curry in retortable pouches, sardine oil, edible fish powder, fish pickles, frozen minced fish meat, dried prawns (shrimps) and frozen clam meat. These regulations will come into force on the date of their publication in the Official Gazette.
In the In the Food Safety and Standards (Food Products Standards and Food Additives) Regulations, 2011, in regulation relating to “Fish and Fish Products”
Standards for Frozen Shrimp have been changed and carry more details as follows.
- Frozen shrimp which includes shrimps, means the product frozen raw or partially or fully cooked, peeled or unpeeled.
- Frozen shrimp is the product obtained from species belonging to Penaeidae, Solenoceridae, Aristeidae, Sergestidae, Hippolytidae, Crangonidae, Palaemonidae and Atyidae.
Standards for Frozen Finfish there are also new standards which will replace the earlier ones and will read as
- Frozen finfish means the product frozen from the species as defined below and offered for direct consumption and for further processing.
- Frozen finfish refers to finfish species suitable for human consumption, with or without the head, from which the viscera or other organs may have been completely or partially removed.
. Requirements of raw materials: the 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.
Standards for Frozen fish fillets
- Frozen fish fillets mean the product frozen from the species of fish as defined below and offered for direct consumption for further processing.
- Frozen fillets are slices of fish 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.
The product after preparation shall be subject to a freezing process as described for frozen shrimp above and the addition as below
- fillets may be presented as boneless, provided that boning has been completed including the removal of pin bones.
Requirements The 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.
Standards for Frozen cephalopods
Frozen cephalopods are the raw frozen cephalopods and parts of raw cephalopods, as defined below and offered for direct consumption and for further processing.
Frozen cephalopods and parts of cephalopods are obtained from the following categories:
Preparation Methods for All the Above Mentioned Fish Products
The shrimp or prawn, finfish, fish fillet, cephalopods after preparation, shall be subject to a freezing process according to following conditions
- the freezing process shall be carried out in appropriate equipment in such a way that the range of temperature of maximum crystallization is passed quickly. The freezing process shall not be regarded as complete unless and until the product temperatures have reached -180C or lower at the thermal center after thermal stabilization
- the water used for cooking shall be of potable quality or clean seawater, which meets the same microbiological standards as potable water and is free from potential contaminants
- the product shall be kept deep frozen to maintain the quality during transportation, storage, and distribution
- frozen products shall be processed and packaged to minimize dehydration and oxidation
- the practice of repacking frozen products under controlled conditions which shall maintain the quality of the product, followed by the reapplication of the freezing process as defined, is permitted.
Requirements Common For All the Above Mentioned Frozen Fish
- Frozen Shrimp, Frozen Finfish, Frozen Fish Fillets, Frozen Cephalopods shall be prepared from sound shrimps or prawns, fish, squid, cuttlefish or octopus used to prepare the mentioned frozen products must be of a good quality and sold fresh for human consumption
- if glazed, the water used for glazing or preparing glazing solutions shall be of potable quality (IS 10500) or shall be clean sea-water, which meets the same microbiological standards as potable water and is free from potential contaminants
- other ingredients shall be of food grade quality and conform to all applicable standards prescribed in these regulations.
Standards for Canned Fishery Products
For new regulations have collective standards for all canned fishery products instead of individual standards as was given previously in the regulations. Canned fishery products mean canned finfish, crustaceans and molluscs solid packed or packed in oil, water or other suitable media.
Canned fishery products are obtained from the categories of finfish, crustaceans, and molluscs that have been given in table format as follows
|Sardine and other clupeoids
Tuna and Bonito
Species belonging to the family
Penaeidae, Solenoceridae, Aristeidae,
Crangonidae, Palaemonidae and
* For canned shrimp the head, shell, and antennae shall be removed
** Canned crab meat is prepared singly or in combination from the leg, claw, body and shoulder meat from which the shell has been removed.
Canned fishery products are packed in hermetically sealed containers and shall have received a processing treatment sufficient to ensure commercial sterility.
- 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, paneling, swelling or rusting.
- The contents of the can, on opening, shall not display any appreciable disintegration. Pieces from which portions have separated out would be treated as disintegrated units. The percentage of the detached portion of fish calculated on the basis of the drained mass shall not exceed 5 percent by mass based on the average of 5 cans.
- The product shall have the odour, flavor and color characteristic of the species.
- The canned shrimp product may be presented as
Peeled shrimp – shrimp which have been headed and peeled without removal of the dorsal tract
Cleaned or de-veined – peeled shrimp which have had the back cut open and the dorsal tract removed at least up to the last segment next to the tail. The portion of the cleaned or deveined shrimp shall make up 95% of the shrimp contents
Broken shrimp – more than 10% of the shrimp contents consist of pieces of peeled shrimp of fewer than four segments with or without the vein removed
Canned shrimp may be designated as to size in accordance with the actual count range declared on the label.
Raw Material – Fish
- The material used for the preparation of canned finfish shall be from sound fish of the species as given in the regulation and of a quality fit to be sold fresh for human consumption. Heads and gills shall be completely removed, scales and tail may be removed.
- The fish may be eviscerated. If eviscerated it shall be practically free from visceral parts other than roe, milt or kidney. If not gutted, it shall be practically free from undigested feed or used feed.
- Shrimp, crab meat, mussels and squid rings must all be prepared from sound species as given in the regulation and must be of a quality fit for human consumption and mussels and squid rings should have no evidence of spoilage and degradation.
The packing medium and all other ingredients used shall be of food grade quality and conform to all applicable standards prescribed in these regulations.
Decomposition: The raw fish shall not contain more than 100 mg/Kg of histamine based on the average of the sample unit tested. This shall apply only to species of fish with the potential to form a hazardous level of histamine as mentioned in Food Safety and Standards (Contaminants, Toxins, and Residues) Regulations, 2011.
The product shall be free from foreign materials, filth and from grittiness. Other parameters like drained weight, disintegrated portion as % of drained weight, medium, a percentage of water, vacuum, etc. have been given in tabular form in these regulations.
Standards for Smoked Fishery Products
- Smoked fishery products mean the product smoked, smoke-flavored and smoke-dried fish prepared from fresh, chilled or frozen raw material. It deals with whole fish, fillets and sliced and similar products thereof.
- The standard applies to fish, either for direct consumption or for further processing, or for addition into a specialty or minced products where fish constitutes only part of the edible contents.
Types of Smoked Fish
- Smoked fish is prepared from fish that has undergone hot or cold smoking process. The smoke must be applied through one of the smoking processes defined in regulation below and the end product must have smoked sensory characteristics. Spices and other optional ingredients may be used.
- Smoke-dried fish is prepared from fish that have undergone combined smoking and drying process and may include a salting process as described in regulation below. The smoke must be applied through a traditional or industrial smoke-drying process and the end product must have smoke-dried sensory characteristics. Spices and other optional ingredients may be used.
- Smoke-flavored fish is prepared from fish that has been treated with smoke flavors, without employing a smoking process as described in regulation below. The end product must have a smoked taste. Spices and other optional ingredients may be used.
Process for smoked fish, smoke-dried fish, and smoke-flavored fish is as follows
- smoking is a process of treating fish by exposing it to smoke from smoldering wood or plant materials. This process is usually characterized by an integrated combination of salting, drying, heating and smoking steps in a smoking chamber
- Provided the wood or other plant material for the generation of smoke or smoke- condensates shall not contain toxic substances either naturally or through contamination, or after having been treated with chemicals, paint or impregnating materials and shall be handled in a way to avoid contamination.
- Provided further, that smoking of fish shall be done in a manner that minimizes the formation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH).
- smoking by regenerated smoke is a process of treating fish by exposing it to smoke which is regenerated by atomizing smoke condensate in a smoking chamber under the time and temperature conditions similar to those for hot or cold smoking
- smoke condensates are products obtained by controlled thermal degradation of wood in a limited supply of oxygen (pyrolysis), subsequent condensation of the resultant smoke vapors, and fractionation of the resulting liquid products
- hot smoking is a process in which fish is smoked at an appropriate combination of temperature and time sufficient to cause the complete coagulation of the proteins in the fish flesh; hot smoking is generally sufficient to kill parasites, to destroy non-sporulating bacterial pathogens and to injure spores of human health concern
- cold smoking is a process of treating fish with smoke using a time and temperature combination that will not cause significant coagulation of the proteins in the fish flesh but that will cause some reduction of the water activity
- salting is a process of treating fish with a salt of food grade quality to lower water activity in fish flesh and to enhance flavor by any appropriate salting technology (e.g., dry salting, brining, injection salting).
- drying is a process in which the moisture content in the fish is decreased to appropriate required characteristics under controlled hygienic conditions
- packaging is a process in which smoked fish is put in a container, either aerobically or under reduced oxygen conditions, including under vacuum or in a modified atmosphere
- storage is a process in which smoked fish is kept refrigerated or frozen to assure quality and safety of the product
- smoke drying is a process in which fish is treated by combined smoking and drying steps to such an extent that the final product can be stored and transported without refrigeration and to achieve a water activity of 0.75 or less (10% moisture content or less), as necessary to control bacterial pathogens and fungal spoilage
- smoke flavors are either smoke condensates or artificial flavor blends prepared by mixing chemically defined substances in known amounts or any combination of both (smoke-preparations)
- (xii) smoke flavoring is a process in which fish or fish preparations are treated with smoke flavor. The smoke flavor can be applied by dipping, spraying, injecting, or soaking.
- smoked fish, smoke-flavored fish, and smoke-dried fish shall be prepared from sound and wholesome fish, which may be fresh, chilled or frozen, and of a quality to be sold for human consumption after appropriate preparation
- other ingredients shall be of food grade quality and conform to all applicable standards prescribed in these Regulations
Standards for Ready-to-Eat Finfish or Shell Fish Curry in Retortable Pouches
Ready-to-Eat finfish or Shellfish curry in Retortable Pouches means the product thermal processed instant fish or shellfish 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 a 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.
- Products are hermetically sealed and shall have received a processing treatment sufficient to ensure commercial sterility.
- The product shall be presented in curry packing medium.
- The raw material used for the preparation of this product shall be from sound finfish or shellfish species and of a good quality to be sold fresh for human consumption.
- For fish, heads and gills shall be completely removed and scales and tail may be removed.
- The fish may be eviscerated and eviscerated they shall be practically free from visceral parts other roe, milt or kidney. If un-gutted, it shall be practically free from undigested feed or used feed. For shrimps, heads, shell, antennae shall be completely removed.
- The packing medium and all other ingredients used shall be of food grade quality and conform to all applicable standards prescribed in these regulations.
- No artificial coloring matter and firming agents shall be used.
The total volatile base nitrogen (TVBN) level of raw material (finfish or shellfish) should not exceed 35mg/100g.
- the finished product shall have the odour, flavor and color characteristic of the product. The bones shall be soft and yielding
- the contents of the pouch on opening shall not display any appreciable disintegration. Pieces from which portions have separated out would be treated as disintegrated units. 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 flavor
- the residual air in the pouch after processing shall be less than 2 % of the volume of the pouch contents
- the average proportion of fish to curry in retort pouch shall be in the ratio of 60: 40
- the percentage of salt in the product shall be 1% to 2 %, maximum
- The material shall be packed in retortable pouches, exhausted or vacuumized and heat-sealed. Exhausting can be done either by steam injection or hot filling to achieve residual air level of less than 2%.
- Processing (Retorting) shall be done in overpressure autoclave till the product reaches an F0 value of 8-10 minutes at the slowest heating point. The water used for cooling of retort pouches shall be as per IS 10500:2012 standards and chlorinated to maintain free residual chlorine of less than 2 mg/l.
Packaging and Labelling
- the retort pouches shall be packed in suitable retail containers to prevent physical impact during transportation
- retort pouch materials of food grade quality having the configuration of polyester/ aluminum foil/cast polypropylene or four layers consisting of polyester/ aluminum foil or aluminum oxide/nylon and cast polypropylene may be used. Other suitable packaging materials which can withstand high temperature and pressure can also be used
The pouches shall be of food grade quality. The retort pouch shall have the mechanical properties as under
|1.||Tensile strength (Kgf/15 mm) machine direction||3.0-5.25|
|2.||Bond Strength (Kgf/15 mm)||0.225 – 0.750|
|3.||Heat seal strength (Kgf/15 mm), Min||4.60|
|4.||Bursting strength (Kg/cm2), Min||1.74|
Standards for Sardine Oil
- Sardine oil shall be prepared from fresh or well preserved or frozen sound wholesome sardine fish (Sardinella longiceps) either whole or dressed body portion (that is without head entrails and tail fin).
- The sardine oil shall be prepared by cooking pressing and separating oil from press liquor by centrifugation or by any other suitable means.
Sardine oil shall be free from
- foreign matters in settled or suspended condition, and separated water. The product shall be a bright and clear liquid when heated to a temperature of 40°C.
- any other kind of oil including mineral oils
- foul and offensive putrefactive odour and should have only characteristic fish- oil odour
- it shall be of greenish straw light golden yellow or light brown colour
Product shall also conform to the requirement given in table below
|1.||Free fatty acids as percent oleic acid, w/w, max||1.0|
|2.||Moisture, percent by weight, max||0.5|
|5.||Unsaponifiable matter, percent, w/w, max||2.0|
|6.||Refractive Index (40°C)||1.4739-1.4771|
Standards for Edible Fish Powder
- Edible fish powder means the product prepared from non-oily white fish like sprats, either from a single species or their mixture. Fresh fish of edible quality which is normally consumed whole should be used for the 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
- The fish need not be dressed but should be washed and cooked well for the preparation of the powder.
- Edible fish powder shall be a fine powder free from needle-like bones. It shall blend easily with cereal flours. It shall have a faint yellow color and the characteristic flavor and taste of dry fish. It shall be free from rancidity and off-flavors.
- No organic solvent or chemicals shall be used in its preparation.
- Particle Size – Unless otherwise specified, the edible fish powder shall be of such fineness that it passes completely through a 100-mesh sieve.
- The Protein Efficiency Ratio (PER) shall not be less than 2.5 (IS: 7481).
The edible fish powder shall comply with the requirements given in Table below.
|Moisture % by weight, Max||10|
|Crude protein content (N X 6.25) on dry basis percent by weight, Min||65|
|Total available lysine g/100g of Protein, Min||6|
|Fat content on dry basis % by Weight, Max||6|
|Ash on dry basis % by weight, Max||18|
|Acid-insoluble as on dry basis % by weight, Max||0.5|
Standards for Fish Pickles
Fish pickle shall possess 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.
Raw material will be as follows
- Edible fish
- Spices and condiments such as ginger garlic, chilies, curry powder
- Edible common salt
- Preservation media
- Vinegar (4 % acetic acid)
- Edible vegetable oils.
- The product shall possess the characteristic pleasant aroma and flavor and shall be devoid of any objectionable off -taste smell or odour.
- The material shall be free from artificial coloring matter and firming agents other than edible common salt and vinegar.
The material shall conform to the requirement specified in the Table below.
|1.||Fluid portion % by weight, Max||40|
|3.||Acidity as acetic acid of fluid Portion % by weight, Max||2.5-3.0|
|4.||Sodium chloride % by weight, Max||12.0|
Standards for Frozen Minced Fish Meat: Frozen minced fish meat means the product frozen and defined below and offered for direct consumption and for further processing.
- clean and fresh fish which do not show any signs of degradation and spoilage shall be used
- the fish shall be gutted; the tail, entrails, bones, tips, skin, head and other non- edible portion shall be removed and eviscerated. Fish shall be washed thoroughly with clean potable water to remove the blood.
- the variety of fish used shall be specified
- the fish shall be properly iced and maintained at a temperature not exceeding 5°C till transported to the freezing factory
- fresh fish shall be washed to make free of all foreign matter preferably by eighth chilled potable water (5°C) having 5 mg/kg (ppm) of available chlorine and meat separated from fish in the wholesome condition
- the material shall be quickly frozen at a temperature not exceeding -30°C in polyethylene wrappers and packed in waxed cartons in the minimum possible time
- the quickly frozen material shall be stored in the cold storage at a temperature not less than -23 °C
Finished Products: The frozen minced fish meat, on thawing must be clean and shall be found undamaged and free from defects. Deterioration, such as dehydration, oxidative rancidity and adverse changes in the texture shall not be present. The product shall be free from foreign matter and finishing agents.
The products shall conform to the requirements specified in the table below
|1.||Colour of minced fish meat||Characteristic of the species|
|2.||Texture of the minced meat||Characteristic of the species|
|3.||Odour||Characteristic of the species, free from rancid, putrid of foreign odour|
|4.||Flavour||Characteristic of the species, sweetish and pleasant, free from spoilt or foreign flavour|
|5.||Bone content, % by weight, Max||1.0|
Standards for Freeze dried prawns (shrimps)
Freeze dried prawns (shrimps) means the product freeze dried prawns as defined below and offered for consumption. They shall be of
- any edible species
- the following types
- peeled, non-deveined and cooked – head and shell removed completely and cooked
- peeled, deveined and cooked – head, shell and dorsal tract removed and cooked
- cooked and peeled – peeled after cooking
- The raw material shall be prepared from clean, wholesome and fresh prawns, and shall not show any visible sign of spoilage
- The colour of the raw material shall typically be of freshly caught prawns. The meat shall be firm and shall have the typical odour of freshly caught prawns. The material shall be free from any discoloration and off odours
- The water used in the processing of prawns shall be of potable quality and shall contain 5 mg/kg available chlorine
- The maximum value for moisture content shall be 2.0 percent
- The extent of rehydration shall be minimum 300 percent (IS: IS 14949)
When observed visually, physical defects for various characteristics shall not exceed the values specified in the table below
|Sr. No||Characteristic||Requirement Percent by Count|
|1.||Deterioration with spoiled pieces||Nil|
|4.||Broken and damaged pieces||2|
|5.||Leges, bits of veins etc.||Nil|
|6.||Foreign matter or filth||Nil|
Standards for Frozen clam meat
- Frozen clam meat means the product frozen and as defined below and offered for consumption.
- Frozen clam meat is the picked either raw or after heating from Vallarta species or Meretrix species or any other edible species of clams and frozen either raw or after cooking.
- The frozen clam meat shall have the characteristic appearance and color. It shall be free from discoloration, deterioration, sand particles, pieces of shell, filth or any other foreign matter.
Frozen clam meat shall be of following types
- Raw Frozen Clam Meat (RFCM)
- Cooked Frozen Clam Meat (CFCM)
Note: – The clams treated with hot water for opening the shell with the meat picked up from it and subsequently frozen shall not be treated as cooked variety.
- The frozen clam meat shall have a soft and firm texture.
- The material shall be of a reasonably uniform size with broken pieces of meat not exceeding 10 % by count.
These are applicable and common to all the above products
Only those food additives specified under these regulations shall be used.
The product shall be prepared and handled in accordance with the guidelines specified in Part-II of Schedule 4 of the Food Safety and Standards (Licensing and Regulation of Food Businesses) Regulations, 2011 and such guidelines as provided from time to time under the provisions of the Food Safety and Standard Act, 2006.
Contaminants, Toxins, and Residues
The products covered in this standard shall comply with the Food Safety and Standards (Contaminants, Toxins, and Residues) Regulations, 2011 and shall conform to the microbiological requirements specified in Appendix B of these regulations.
Packaging and Labelling
The products shall comply with the packaging and labeling requirements specified in the Food Safety and Standards (Packaging and Labelling), Regulations, 2011and shall also apply to the pre-packaged product.
Besides the above packaging and labeling requirement for
- frozen products a display on the label must mention that the product (name) shall be stored at -18°C or lower
- Canned products shall be packed in suitable containers, free from rust and hermetically sealed. Cans shall be lacquered, the lacquer used shall be non-toxic and shall be of such quality that it does not impart any foreign taste and smell to the contents of the cans and does not peel off during processing and storage of the product. The lacquer shall not be soluble in oil or brine.
- Smoked fish the label shall declare storage and handling instructions appropriate for the product.