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Decisions: Marine and Fresh Water Products


Mussels sold with the shell

Question:  1) When cooked or semi-cooked mussels are sold with the shell, does the net quantity declared on the package include the weight of the shell?

2) When the shell is included with the product, must the common name of the product indicate the presence of the shells?

Answer:  1) The net quantity declaration of a package of cooked mussels in the shell may include the weight of the shell, however, when the shell is included in the product, the net quantity must not be modified by the term “net weight”. It would be acceptable to use the term “weight” alone or simply declare the weight without any modifier.

2) Yes, the common name must indicate the presence of the shells.  (August 2004)

[Fish Inspection Act, 2; Fish Inspection Regulations, 2, 26 (1); Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act, 4(1), Consumer Packaging and Labelling Regulations, 21, 22(2)]


Marine plants such as seaweed or algae, e.g. "marsh samphire", "crest marine" and "sea spaghetti"

Question:  Are marine plants or edible algae such as "marsh samphire (family: chenopodiaceae) ", "crest marine (family: apiaceae)" and "sea spaghetti (Himanthalia elongata)" considered to be vegetables as per the Processed Products Regulations or do we consider them to be "non vegetable products"? The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has received several label reviews for these canned marine plants, whether simply canned or as "pickles".

Answer:  Under the existing regulatory framework, authority exists for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to regulate these products under the Fish Inspection Act, as well as under the Processed Products Regulations. However, while authority exists, neither the of these regulatory instruments have developed specific regulations regarding marine plants at this time.

These marine plants are therefore currently subject to the Food and Drugs Act and Regulations and the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act and Regulations. If specific regulations are developed under the Fish Inspection Act or the Processed Products Regulations, these would take precedence over the Food and Drugs Act and Regulations, in that order, in the case of any inconsistencies.   (Headquarters/September/2002)


"Lean" and "Extra lean"

Question: What products can use the claims “lean” and “extra-lean” under the nutrition labelling regulations introduced in 2003?

Answer: Items 46 and 47 of the table following B.01.513 of the Food and Drug Regulations (FDR) specify the conditions for the food for the claims as follows:

Lean: The food:
(a) is meat or poultry that has not been ground, a marine or fresh water animal, or a product of any of these;
(b) contains 10% or less fat.

Extra-Lean: The food:
(a) is meat or poultry that has not been ground, a marine or fresh water animal, or a product of any of these;
(b) contains 7.5% or less fat.

The claims “lean” and “extra-lean” may only be used on foods meeting the definition in the Food and Drug Regulations for meat, meat by-product, prepared meat, prepared meat by-products (Division 14), poultry meat, poultry meat by-product, prepared poultry meat, prepared poultry meat by-product (Division 22), and foods meeting the definition of marine and fresh water animals (Division 21).

Prepared foods such as meat pie, lasagna, pizza, meat/poultry/fish sauces or pastes, etc., would not be eligible to make these claims.

As well, the use of the term “lean” is permitted in the brand name of a prepackaged food product that is represented for use in a weight reduction diet or a weight maintenance diet. [B.01.502 (2) (l), FDR]

Note that the above definitions of “lean” and “extra lean” do not apply to the ground meat or ground poultry which are subject to the standards for ground meats as defined in Schedule I of the Meat Inspection Regulations, 1990:

  • Extra Lean Ground (naming the species) - maximum 10% fat
  • Lean Ground (naming the species) - maximum 17% fat
  • Medium Ground (naming the species) - maximum 23% fat
  • Regular Ground (naming the species) - maximum 30% fat