Glazed seafood — labelling and testing requirements
Glazing is the term used to describe the application of a protective coating of ice (ice glaze) to frozen seafood products. The stated quantity of the seafood must not include the glaze.
About glazing on seafood
The ice layer on 'glazed" seafood excludes air from the surface of the product, reducing the rate of oxidation. This 'glaze' is considered to be part of the packaging material, and therefore must be excluded from the net contents. By definition a package includes anything in or by which goods are cased, covered, contained, or packed.
Labelling and invoice requirement
To avoid the risk of breaching the marking requirements for packaged food items, we advise distributors and importers to:
- mark goods with a stated net quantity on each individual package, AND
- clearly identify the net weight of the goods supplied on an invoice to the purchaser.
See General quantity labelling requirements for more information.
The diagram below shows when food items must be labelled with a stated net quantity, and when an invoice must be issued to the purchaser.
Test procedure to establish net weight
The following procedure has been developed to help Trading Standards Officers and quality control staff determine whether the stated net weight on a glazed seafood package is correct. The product must remain frozen during the procedure — the intention is to remove the glaze only, and not to begin defrosting the product.
See Trading Standards inspections for more information about Trading Standards Officer visits.
You'll need the following equipment for the testing procedure:
- Suitable weighing instrument.
- Water source, hose and spray head.
- Sink or other receptacle with hair trap.
- Sieve with 2.36 mm square openings that is large enough to hold the contents of 1 package. For packages with a nominal quantity of 900 g or less use a 20 cm diameter sieve; for packages greater than 900 g use a 30 cm sieve.
- Wedge to provide tilt to 17˚ to 20˚ from the horizontal. An iPhone can be used to establish gradient.
- A container large enough to hold the product.
- A stop watch.
Samples must be uniformly graded — that is, not marinara or a sample containing a variety of sizes.
- Record the gross weight of the package.
- Attach the hose and spray head to the cold water tap.
- Make sure the sink has a hair trap fitted to prevent small pieces of product from being washed down the drain.
- Place the frozen package inside the sink.
- Open the frozen package and carefully empty the contents into the sink ensuring that the entire product is removed.
- Distribute the product into a single layer in the sink.
- Set the empty packaging to one side, but keep it.
- Switch on the cold tap and adjust to a gentle spray setting.
- Using one hand, gently spray the product. With the other hand, carefully move and rotate the seafood in the spray so that each individual piece is sprayed evenly.
- Continue spraying and moving the product until the seafood feels free of glaze. It's important that you don't continue this procedure for too long. The intention is to deglaze the product, not to thaw it.
- Touch the prawns. If you can feel ice, continue spraying and rotating. Check for ice on each prawn in turn. Prawns should still feel slightly stiff to touch when deglazing is completed.
- Once you have reached the point where the product is deglazed, immediately switch off the tap.
- Without delay, remove all product from the sink and place directly into the sieve as evenly as possible.
- Once all the product is inside the sieve, tilt it using the wedge to between 170 and 200 from the horizontal.
- Start the stop watch and time for 2 minutes.
- During this 2 minute period, dry the empty packaging, and determine and record the tare weight.
- Replace the packaging with the empty container and tare off the weight.
- At the end of 2 minutes, transfer the contents of the sieve into the container.
- Document the actual weight, and determine whether the stated weight is equal to the net weight.
Improving quality control and demonstrating legal compliance
Create a sampling plan appropriate to your process, select a respective number of samples per batch and document the results. An example of a sampling plan is shown below.
|Product||Date/Time||Stated weight on package||Tare weight||Gross weight||Gross weight - (stated weight + tare weight)||Action|
|Glazed prawns||31/9/14||1000 g||4 g||1010 g||+6 g||in tolerance|
Trading Standards can offer guidance to assist you in developing a suitable sampling plan for your process.
It's an offence if the weight, measure or number of goods in the package is less than that stated on the package or label.
See What to do about short quantity packages for more information.
If your goods are found by a Trading Standards Officer to be short of their stated net quantity, you may be subject to one of the following enforcement actions:
- Letter of warning.
- Infringement Offence (fee) of $500.
- Fine of up to $10,000 on prosecution.