GA-FDD says beware of misleading “Jack Mackerel” canned fish products, food labels

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The Government-Analyst Food and Drug Department (GA-FDD) has issued an advisory to consumers to be cognizant of canned fish products purporting to be a specific brand of mackerel, in this case “Jack Mackerel,” but upon closer and researched inspection it was found to be misleading.

According to GA-FDD, consumers should ensure that they purchase items “that are adequately labeled and to be extra cautious with product (s), which are being offered for sale at prices that varies significantly from the usual.  Those products may be false, substandard, counterfeited or expired.”

The department is again advising importers to ensure products imported into Guyana are properly labeled and contains the following information in the English Language:-

  1.  The brand name and the common name of the product.
  2.  The exact name and address of manufacturer/packer and the country of origin.
  3.  Net content or net weight, list of ingredients and nutritional information.
  4.  Manufacturing date, expiry date, batch number and a valid barcode).
  5.  The embossed or printed code on cans or packages that can give additional details. For example; packer’s plant identification, package dimension, type of lid, product species, packing style and medium, target market, closing machine number, year of production and date of product. All are necessary for the purpose of traceability in accordance with the Codex guidelines.

 

See full statement below:

The Government-Analyst Food and Drug Department wishes to advise and/or inform consumers and the general public that the canned fish product with a given common name “Jack Mackerel” is either Pacific Jack Mackerel (Trachurus symmetricus) also known as Californian Jack Mackerel or Chilean Jack Mackerel (Trachurus Murphyi ) also known as Inca Scad.  They are both abundant species of pelagic marine (open sea) and of the jack family Carangidae.

While there are many other species of mackerel fish found throughout the world the “Jack Mackerel” species are distributed only along the Western Coast of North America, in the South Pacific off the Coast of Chile and Peru, and around New Zealand and South Australia.

The department had been intercepting containers at the city wharfs and on the shelves of our local market, labels of canned mackerel that are false, deceptive and/or misleading and are in some cases creating and erroneous impression – according to Laws of Guyana Food and Drug Act Chapter 34:03, Section six (6) – as to the exact species of mackerel fish that are placed in cans.

In some cases, the word “Jack” is used either as or part of a brand name on canned mackerel which is not from any of the locations stated above and which can mislead consumers.   In addition, the exact name and addresses of the manufacturers or packers are omitted contrary to the Food and Drug Regulations.   They are also cases of the same labels being used by a different manufacturer or packer from the same country of origin and where the same product (Jack Mackerel) with such a label is being imported by different importers.  See attached.

The department is again advising importers to ensure products imported into Guyana are properly labeled and contains the following information in the English Language:-

  1. The brand name and the common name of the product.
  2. The exact name and address of manufacturer/packer and the country of origin.
  3. Net content or net weight, list of ingredients and nutritional information.
  4. Manufacturing date, expiry date, batch number and a valid barcode).
  5. The embossed or printed code on cans or packages that can give additional details. For example; packer’s plant identification, package dimension, type of lid, product species, packing style and medium, target market, closing machine number, year of production and date of product. All are necessary for the purpose of traceability in accordance with the Codex guidelines.

Consumers are advised to ensure that they purchase items that are adequately labeled and to be extra cautious with product (s), which is being offered for sale at prices that varies significantly from the usual.  Those products may be false, substandard, counterfeited or expired.

The department will continue to work with stakeholders particularly the Customs-Trade Administration, Regional Environmental Health Officers and members of the National and Food Safety and Control Committees to prevent substandard food products from being released for sale on our local market.

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