Chicken of the Sea, NFI laud US FDA's changed approach to weighing canned tuna

Chicken of the Sea tuna cans in a supermarket.

Tuna suppliers and the National Fisheries Institute are praising the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s proposed rule changing the industry-wide method of weighing tuna, which would amend both the standard fill of container and standard of identity for canned tuna products across the U.S.

The FDA action partially responds to a 2015 citizen petition submitted by Bumble Bee Foods, StarKist, and Tri-Union Seafoods (representing Chicken of the Sea International), shortly before major retailers across the U.S. accused the three canned tuna companies of price fixing. The petition asked the FDA to base the standard fill of container on the product’s drained weight rather than its pressed cake weight and require that the net contents declaration on each can include both net weight and drained weight measurements.

“The pressed cake weight test is an archaic test that is difficult to perform, prone to human error, and produces inconsistent results. It was designed for the old three-piece cans, not the two-piece cans that are the industry norm today,” the companies said in their joint petition.”

The U.S. is the only country that still uses the pressed cake weight method, according to the petition.

“The drained weight test is simpler for industry and regulators to perform and produces more consistent, reliable results, thereby ensuring that consumers get the amount of fish they purchase,” the petition said.

Since most consumers and food preparers discard the packing medium in canned tuna products, requiring the declaration of both net weight and drained weight on the label would give consumers more complete and useful information about the amount of fish they’re purchasing in each can, the companies said.

“Based on input from the industry, we understand that use of the pressed weight method is outdated. Products using the drained weight method appear to have gained consumer acceptance since becoming available,” the FDA said. “Our proposed amendments … will modernize multiple aspects and requirements of the standards, including allowing use of the drained weight method.”

Additionally, the petition requested the FDA ensure use of a packing medium is optional, permit the use of any flavoring, and limit the amount of vegetable broth that may count as flavoring based on the dry weight of vegetable extractives.

The FDA agreed current standards are restrictive regarding the use of flavorings. As a result, the proposed rule would permit ... 

Photo courtesy of Sheila Fitzgerald/Shutterstock

SeafoodSource Premium

Become a Premium member to unlock the rest of this article.

Continue reading ›

Already a member? Log in ›


Want seafood news sent to your inbox?

You may unsubscribe from our mailing list at any time. Diversified Communications | 121 Free Street, Portland, ME 04101 | +1 207-842-5500