European Parliament changes smoked salmon rules despite protests

Salmon oatcakes. Photo: Associated seafoods

THE European Parliament has decided to press ahead with a potentially controversial change to the regulations around smoked salmon processing.

Objections had been raised by the processing sector but they were rejected by the Strasbourg based parliament last week.

The new regulations centre around part of the production system known as the “stiffening process”

The changes were first proposed by the European Commission and adopted by the parliament last week despite mounting concerns.

The European Parliament believes that the planned changes will greatly improve food safety and cut waste.

Stiffening involves reducing the ambient temperature of fresh d salmon between minus four and minus 14 degrees Centigrade after it has been filleted and smoked to help protect against listeria type bacteria. And there have been a number of salmon listeria outbreaks in Europe over the past year

But the industry fears it will cost many jobs especially in large salmon processing countries such as Poland and Denmark.

The Polish Association of Fish Processors (PSPR) has already expressed serious concerns, especially around the time involved in stiffening.

It is concerned that despite serious concerns by the industry the parliament has now gone ahead without taking them into account.

With an output of more than 200,000 tonnes and a value of over £1-billion , Poland is by far Europe’s largest smoked salmon processor.

A spokeswoman for the Association said the change will add complications and reduce the time involved in stiffening to 96 hours.

Until now there has been no time limit for keeping salmon at the stiffening temperature before slicing.



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