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CFIA’s new food regulations miss the boat on seafood traceability

Oceana Canada calls on the government to align with international best practices

TORONTO, June 15, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- This week, the Canadian Food and Inspection Agency (CFIA) released its new Safe Foods for Canadians Regulations (SFCR). The regulations do not address the need to stop seafood fraud or keep illegally caught seafood out of Canadian supply chains.

“CFIA had the opportunity to move in the right direction to ensure all seafood sold in Canada is safe, honestly labelled and legally caught, but they fell short,” said Julia Levin, Seafood Fraud Campaigner, Oceana Canada. “These regulations leave Canada well behind international best practices.”

Oceana Canada’s recommendations, submitted last year, called on CFIA to include in the regulations a system to trace all seafood from boat-to-plate and require that key information follow all seafood products throughout the supply chain. 

Seafood fraud - the misrepresentation of seafood products, often involving lower value fish sold as more expensive varieties - is a widespread issue in Canada. Oceana Canada’s investigation into seafood fraud in Ottawa last year found that nearly half of the 98 samples tested were mislabelled. Similar studies conducted in cities across Canada have found up to 41 per cent of samples were mislabelled.

Seafood fraud impacts people’s health and safety, cheats consumers, hurts law-abiding fishers and seafood businesses. It can even mask global human rights abuses by creating a market for illegally caught fish.

The new regulations were an opportunity for Canada to catch up to the United States and the European Union, which leads the way with a robust traceability system that requires key information to be passed along the supply chain.

“Canada’s new regulations do not put in place a system of documenting and tracing seafood from the boat-to-plate, which is what is needed to stop seafood fraud and prevent the entry of illegally caught fish into the market,” says Levin. “Full boat-to-plate traceability, paired with comprehensive labelling, can help our oceans, our wallets and our health.” 

Oceana Canada will continue to work with the CFIA and other government agencies to stop seafood fraud in Canada and implement full boat-to-plate traceability.

To read Oceana Canada’s full report and the results of its Ottawa seafood testing, visit www.oceana.ca/StopSeafoodFraud. Canadians can help take a stand against seafood fraud by signing Oceana Canada’s petition.

For more information, please contact: Kara-Ann Miel, Communications Director, Oceana Canada, 647-535-6326, kmiel@oceana.ca