3.1 General
3.2 Standardization and Product Requirements

3.1 General

Important canned fish products are tuna packed as solid pack, chunks, flakes, grated or shredded in water or oil, sardines or sardine-like fishes in oil, tomato sauce or other types of sauce, pre-smoked sardines in oil or tomato sauce, kippers (pre-smoked herring), salmon, mackerel, fish paste products and pet food.

3.2 Standardization and Product Requirements

Requirements for all type of products are that the canned fish shall have an odour and flavour characteristic of the species and type of packing medium, and be free from objectionable odours and flavours of any kind.

The main product requirements which are given in Codex standards for fish and fishery products(CAC/VOL V -Ed. 1) and not mentioned elsewhere in the report are given in chapters 3.2.1, 3.2.2, 3.2.3 and 3.2.4.

3.2.1 Tuna species

Styles of tuna are pre-cooked (packs prepared from cooked fish without skin) and not pre-cooked (solid packs prepared directly from raw fish) which may be presented as" skin-on" ).

Solid pack is fish cut into transverse segments to which no free fragments are added. In containers of 450 g (one pound) or less of net contents, such segments are cut into lengths suitable for packing into one layer. In containers of more than 450 g (one pound) net contents, such segments may be cut into lengths suitable for packing in one or more layers of equal thickness. No layer shall have a thickness less than 2.5 cm (1 inch).

Chunk or chunks are a mixture of pieces of cooked fish most of which have dimensions of not less than 1.2 cm (1/2 inch) in each direction and in which the original muscle structure is retained.

Flake or flakes are a mixture of particles of cooked fish in which the muscular structure of the flesh is retained.

Grated or shredded are a mixture of particles of cooked fish that have been reduced to a uniform size, and in which particles are discrete and do not comprise a paste.

Canned tuna may be packed in olive oil -in conformity with the Recommended International Standard for Olive Oil, Virgin and Refined, and for Refined Olive Residue Oil (CAC/RS 33-1970), or other vegetable oils -clear, refined, deodorized, edible vegetable oil in conformity with the relevant recommended international standards adopted by the Codex Alimentarius Commission.

On opening, the cans shall be well filled with fish. The products shall be practically free from skin (except when presented as "skin-on" pack), scales, prominent blood streaks, blood-clots, bones, bruises, the red muscle known as red meat. and honey-combing. The colour, texture, odour and flavour shall be characteristic of good quality canned tuna and bonito of the particular species.

For the solid form of pack, the proportion of free flakes broken in the canning operation shall not exceed 18 percent of the weight of the flesh.

For canned tuna designated as light, the product shall be practically free of dark meat.

3.2.2 Sardines

The fish pre-cooked nor not, smoked or unsmoked shall be neatly arranged within the can. At least 2 fishes shall be contained in each can.

The product in a can shall comprise fish with a reasonable uniform size, neatly cut to remove the head and with no excessive ventral breaks (unsightly rupture of the ventral area), or breaks and cracks in the flesh.

The can shall be well filled with fish and the final product shall be free from foreign matter.

The fish shall be reasonably firm, free from mushiness, with soft bones. The colour of the flesh shall be characteristic of the species and type of pack (Codex Stan 94-1981)..

3.2.3 Salmon

Regular style consists of canned salmon to which salt has been added.

Skinless and boned salmon shall consist of regular pack canned salmon from which the skin and vertebrate have been substantially removed.

Salmon tips or tidbits shall consist of small pieces of salmon.

Canned Pacific Salmon shall be prepared from clean, wholesome salmon.

On opening the cans shall appear well filled with fish. The bones shall be soft and the flesh shall be practically free from bruises, blood spots, honey-combing or abnormal colours. The contents shall be free from viscera and reasonably free from pieces of detached or loose skin or scales. In the case of regular packs, the sections of fish shall be arranged so that the cut surfaces are approximately parallel to the .opened end and the skin side parallel to the walls of the can. Regular packs shall be reasonable free from cross packs and pieces of skin or section of the vertebrae across the top of the can (Codex Stan 3-1981).

3.2.4 Shrimps

Styles of shrimps are conventional or regular shrimps or prawns which have been peeled and subsequently canned without intentional removal of the dorsal tract and cleaned or deveined shrimps or prawns which have been peeled and in addition the back has been cut open and the dorsal tract removed at least up to the last segment next to the tail.

In addition to the meat of the shrimps or prawns, the container may also contain a liquid in sufficient volume to cover the shrimps or prawns.

Broken shrimps or broken prawns are pieces of the product consisting of less than four segments. Such pieces may occur provided they do not occur in excess of the tolerance limits set in standard (Codex Stan 37-1981).

Canned shrimps or prawns should be clean, generally uniform in size and prepared with care; have good (firm) sinuosity, making them appear curved; have appetizing appearance and uniform colour, characteristic of the species and habitat or areas from which harvested, even if artificially coloured; not be smeary and not more than slightly sticky.