New standard for handling frozen seafood launched

Called TR49: 2016 Cold Chain Management of Frozen Fish and Seafood, it covers the application and observance of temperature control for the cold chain management of raw and minimally processed frozen seafood.
Calvin Hui Channel NewsAsia 25 May 16;

SINGAPORE: A new standard for handling frozen fish and seafood was launched on Wednesday (May 25).

Called TR49: 2016 Cold Chain Management of Frozen Fish and Seafood, the technical reference was jointly launched by the Singapore Manufacturing Federation Standards Development Organisation (SMF-SDO) and SPRING Singapore, together with Seafood Industries Association Singapore (SIAS).

It is targeted at key stakeholders in the fish and seafood industry, including producers, importers, retailers and regulatory authorities.

TR49 covers the application and observance of temperature control for the cold chain management of raw and minimally processed frozen seafood.

For instance, under guidelines from the technical reference, fresh fish and seafood and their products that are to be chilled "shall be held at a temperature of 0°C to 4°C at all times".

The guidelines cover the stages of post-harvesting, handling, packaging and re-packaging, storage, distribution, transportation and retail.

Speaking at the launch of TR49, Mr Andrew Kwan, Board Member of SPRING Singapore, added: "TR49 provides the necessary guidance to reduce food and seafood spoilage by ensuring proper temperature control across the value chain, from producer to retailer, to minimise waste."

He added that the standard will help prevent food scares and negative consumer perceptions that can have a detrimental impact on the industry over a long period.

While TR49 is not mandatory for companies in the industry to adopt, Mr Kwan cited how case studies have shown how standards have helped to contribute up to 4 per cent of a company's annual sales revenue.

The technical reference is a provisional standard and will be reviewed after two years. The aim is to develop and update the technical reference so that it can be adopted as a Singapore Standard.

Mr Ting Heng Luan, a member of the working group for TR49, said the new guidelines do not cover ready-to-eat raw fish, which came under the spotlight with a spate of Group B streptococcus (GBS) infections linked to the consumption of raw fish last year.

According to Mr Ting, the handling processes for frozen fish or seafood and ready-to-eat raw fish are "very different".

"The FSC (Food Standards Committee) is currently working on a certain set of guidelines in view of the recent food scare, and hopefully in the very near future, these guidelines will be available for the public, for the consumers, and for the industry," he said, adding that these separate guidelines for ready-to-eat raw fish are expected to be ready at the end of the year or early next year.

- CNA/dl

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