Food Law News - UK - 2002

FSA News Item, 4 December 2002

COMPOSITION - Agency finds added water in scallops and scampi

A Food Standards Agency survey has revealed high levels of added water in many samples of scallops and scampi, which were not reflected in their description or labelling. The survey also showed problems with the labelling of coated scampi.

Sixteen local authorities from across the UK collected a total of 255 samples, consisting of 86 scallops, 21 ice-glazed peeled scampi tails, and 148 coated scampi products. Laboratories analysed the raw scallops and the peeled scampi tails for added water, and tested the coated scampi to see whether the scampi content was correct on the label.

Their results showed that a significant proportion of the scallops (48%) and peeled scampi tails (86%) had more than 10% added water, which was not reflected in the product description. The maximum level of added water was 54% in scallops and 44% in peeled scampi tail samples.

For coated scampi, 9% of those tested were found to have no declared scampi content, and 14% had declared a scampi content at least 5% more than was found by analysis. More than a fifth of samples (22%) had a scampi content at least 5% higher than that declared on the label.

Rosemary Hignett of the FSA's Food Labelling and Standards Division said: 'The results of this survey show that the labelling of some of these products needs to be improved. These are expensive products and consumers expect products to match their descriptions.'

All results have been passed to local authorities, who will be following up the results. They will be checking manufacturers' compliance with a 1998 Code of Practice for Fish Products drawn up between sectors of the industry, LACORS (Local Authorities Co-ordinators of Regulatory Services) and the Association of Public Analysts. The Code makes recommendations on the labelling of fish and shellfish products, as well as laying down good manufacturing practice to minimise the amount of water taken up in fish and shellfish during their preparation and processing.

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