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Seafish warns low grade tuna could be sold as 'premium'
2016-11-15 15:22:44 copyfrom： hits:
Bluefin tuna on sale at a market. (Photo: Stock File)
Tuesday, November 15, 2016, 00:40 (GMT + 9)
The UK's cross-industry seafood body Seafish warns that low quality tuna is being mis-sold at premium prices so it sent a letter to wholesales alerting them on the issue.
The entity's regulation team has recently been made aware of the practice that involves fermented vegetable extract being injected into low grade tuna in order to restore its red colour.
According to Seafish, the UK has always held that this product and process is not permitted for tuna but some EU member states interpreted the regulation differently and were permitting the use of vegetable extract as the flavouring.
The fishing authority has worked with tuna importers from four member states, including the UK, to alert the EU Commission to the issue.
It has now confirmed by Seafish that the UK position is correct and issued guidance to other member states. However, until the process is stopped there could potentially be treated tuna on the UK market.
It is believed that this practice is predominantly happening with tuna that is being processed in Spain, France and Italy.
Seafish recognises that it is very difficult to identify the difference between the treated and non-treated tuna as the flavour will not be noticeably different. Besides, in terms of the look of the treated tuna, it might be overly red / pink in colour to the trained eye.
The NGO warns consumers to identify the following signs in order to distinguish if it is treated tuna:
- Bright red in colour and significant liquid in the pack which is not the color of tuna blood;
- Vacuum packed tuna;
- Softness of flesh with crumbling fibers on the surface, remaining even after cooking;
- The label might declare the use of antioxidants such as, E-331 (Sodium citrates), E300 (Ascorbic acid), E 301 (Sodium ascorbate) as well as an acidic regulator E500 (Sodium carbonates) and salt;
- The label might declare the use of vegetable 'aroma';
- After exposure to the air the tuna will blacken, which can take several hours as the antioxidants are added to slow this reaction.
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