Added water to frozen shrimp and EU labeling regulation
In April 2018, Dutch newspaper de Volkskrant wrote that the Dutch food safety authority (NVWA) would start implementing the EU regulation on added water to meat and fish products more strictly from 11 July, 2018, onwards, after it was discovered that added water was often not correctly declared on as an ingredient on the label. The European regulation on the provision of food information to consumers (regulation (EU) no. 1169/2011) requires for all packaged products to have a declaration of ingredients. In the case of fish, for instance, this entails a declaration of the amount of fish present as a percentage of the product’s final weight. However, as there is no clear definition of the natural water content of fish and shrimp, measuring the added water is difficult. This is not a new issue. Already in 2014, Saskia van Ruth, professor of food authenticity at Wageningen university in the Netherlands, expressed the “growing concern regarding the correct composition and labelling of seafood”. Today, this issue is at the top of the agenda of EU shrimp importers since authorities in the Netherlands and in Germany have recently started to enforce the regulations more stringently.
Photo courtesy of Shrimptails/Seafood Trade Intelligence Portal