In order to understand today’s subject, we should make clear the following concepts:
Due to their prompt margins of expiry date, both fish and shellfish have to be subjected, usually “in situ”, to ultra-rapid freezing processes. This method preserves all the characteristics of the product and makes non-fresh food to reach our homes maintaining all its gustatory, olfactory, nutritional properties and also all its organoleptic properties. Nowadays, new techniques on the market are managed providing a plus of guarantee and confidence to the final result, and that is the case of glazing.
The glazing technique consists on spraying individually the surface of the product with potable water, thus blocking the effects of the oxidation and dehydration common of this type of processes, and in turn protecting the food.
According to the “Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2011 on the provision of food information to consumers.” Annex IX (Statement of the net amount). Section 5: “Where a solid food is presented in a liquid medium, the drained net weight of the food shall also be indicated. Where the food has been glazed, the declared net weight of the food shall be exclusive of the glaze.”
Users have to be kept informed at all times of the products they are going to acquire, as well as of the processes they have undergone from their catch to their arrival in supermarkets or wholesale companies. For this, all the parameters set by the regulations are clear: “The labelling of frozen food products for sale to the final consumer must indicate the weight without including the glazing, and it can be expressed in 3 ways:
– Double indication: Net weight (grams) y Drained weight (grams).
– Comparative indication: Net weight = Drained weight (grams).
– Individual indication: Drained weight (grams).”
This type of information must always be present in plain view of the consumer, marked in labels, signs or notice boards placed at the point of sale, on the product or close to it.
If “apparently” we do not see any problem, where is the source of conflict?
The conflict emerges when the glaze is used not only to protect the product but also to increase its weight, glazing is the only allowed technique but there is not a maximum limit established about how much glaze can be added to a product.
In most cases, and due to the lack of information about these simple concepts, users see themselves vulnerable against the deception of some companies. These companies, based on malpractices, look like they are offering a more economically advantageous product for the consumer, working with more glaze than the one declared in their packaging to lower the price and put in the container less product (drained weight). This way, we are paying water for fish, as the glaze adds an extra protective ice layer that increases the total weight of frozen products.
Handling these data, it is now also our responsibility as consumers to demand this information, and if for some reason it is not provided, we should doubt the product we are acquiring.
In our opinion, the conflict is not only in indicating the drained weight correctly, but that the drained weight indicated on the container is the real one. We recommend to the consumer not only to read the labelling of the acquired packaging, but to check the drained weight at home, at your bar, restaurant…