Food Safety Standards for Fish Processors in Ontario

Definition of "Processing" from the Fish Inspection Act

The Act defines processing as cleaning, filleting, icing, packing, canning, freezing, smoking, salting, cooking, pickling, drying or preparing fish for market in any other way; ("traitement").

The government of Ontario is continually working to strengthen the province’s food safety system. It does this by updating standards and food safety programs, and by using new scientific knowledge to minimize food safety risks.
 
The Ministry of Natural Resources has legislative responsibility for the provincial Fish Inspection Act and Quality Control Regulation 456. The Act and regulations are applicable to anyone in Ontario who produces, processes, or distributes fish for human consumption.

The Act defines processing as cleaning, filleting, icing, packing, canning, freezing, smoking, salting, cooking, pickling, drying or preparing fish for market in any other way ("traitement").

 

The Ministry of Natural Resources has implemented a food safety audit program for fish that focuses on "non-federally registered" processors that sell fish and fish products only to the Ontario market, and excludes “federally registered” processors that export fish and fish products out of the province and that are inspected by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.
 

The audit program:

• assesses compliance of fish processing facilities with the provincial Fish Inspection Act and Quality Control Regulation 456, using the "Standards of Compliance for Fish Processors"
• assesses the performance and capability of the processor to produce safe, wholesome fish and fish products suitable for human consumption
• where necessary, identifies corrective actions required to safeguard the safety and wholesomeness of fish and fish products
• ensures fish processors in Ontario are aware of their regulatory obligations.

 

Standards of Compliance

To assist fish processors in meeting their food safety obligations, the Ministry of Natural Resources, in collaboration with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, developed Standards of Compliance for Fish Processors based on Fish Inspection Act, 1990 and Quality Control Regulation (Reg. 456). These standards incorporate internationally and nationally accepted practices for food safety.
 

The standards are intended to achieve the following food safety goals:

• minimize the risk of introducing chemical, physical or biological hazards to food fish during handling, processing, packaging, storage and transport
• ensure that the design, construction and operating practices of fish processing plants are consistent with requirements of the Fish Inspection Act and the production of safe fish and fish products
• ensure that fish and fish products produced in Ontario are wholesome and suitable for human consumption.

 

Information about food safety including material relevant to fish processors can be found online at the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs website.
 

For more information: Brian Burdick, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources