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Authority Criticises Processing Hygiene Standards

22 March 2012

NORWAY - While the farming sector in general follows the hygiene requirements, there is room for significant improvement in businesses that process whitefish, concludes an inspection report by the European Free Trade Association's Surveillance Authority (ESA).

In autumn 2011, ESA inspected Norwegian fish companies to examine that the control of production and sale of fish and fishery products was carried out in accordance with the European Economic Area (EEA) Agreement.

The inspection revealed several deficiencies. ESA noted that building conditions made it difficult for facilities to meet the hygiene requirements and also increased the risk of cross contamination. ESA also noted that there was a lack of storage and labeling of products. The Norwegian Food Safety Authority (FSA) has been heavily criticised for the findings.

"This is not good for the Norwegian fishing industry or for the FSA, which has responsibility for ensuring that hygiene standards are followed, so that food safety is ensured," said Friede Andersen, head of the FSA.

The FSA immediately initiated a number of measures to remedy the serious defects in the inspected businesses after the inspection's findings.

"To improve our own control, we will give priority in 2012 to follow up the problems and deficiencies pointed out by ESA. The follow-up will be relevant to all businesses, not just those who were visited by ESA," said Ms Andersen.

There has previously been problems with the use of polyphosphates in salted fish and ESA checked this specifically. ESA concluded that finding did not indicate illegal procedures in salted fish production.

"We invite the industry to discuss the results and follow-up report. It is industry that has the primary responsibility to correct conditions that do not comply with hygiene regulations," said Ms Andersen.

TheFishSite News Desk



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