HIGH LINER SEAFOOD
Important questions about the safety of seafood products from China have been raised recently in the media. Below is information about High Liner frozen seafood products that we hope addresses your comments and concerns. At High Liner, our quality control measures are stringent and comprehensive, ensuring that food safety and quality are never compromised. We hope that you continue to purchase High Liner products with confidence.
1) WHERE DOES HIGH LINER FISH COME FROM?
90% of the fish and shellfish used in High Liner products are caught wild in the world’s oceans and seas. 10% of the fish and shellfish come from specially chosen fish and shellfish farms.
A) Wild Species of Fish and Shellfish
The following summary outlines where our wild species of fish and shellfish are caught and where the fishermen and fishing vessels are from:
||SOURCE – OCEAN/SEA
||COUNTRY WHERE THE WILD FISH ARE CAUGHT
||North Pacific Ocean
||USA, Japan, Russia
||North Pacific Ocean
||North Pacific Ocean
||North Pacific Ocean
None of the above wild species of fish or shellfish are caught by Chinese fishermen or Chinese fishing vessels.
B) Farmed Fish and Shellfish
The following summary outlines where our farmed species of fish and shellfish are from:
||COUNTRY WHERE FARMED
||China, Vietnam, Indonesia
2) WHY DOES MY HIGH LINER PACKAGE SAY “PRODUCT OF CANADA” IF THE SEAFOOD COMES FROM ANOTHER COUNTRY?
Canadian law requires High Liner – and all other seafood companies – to indicate Product of Canada based on how our seafood is processed. The country of origin is defined as the country where the product has had value added, such as breading, battered, or saucing fish and shellfish, and where it is packaged.
We appreciate that in many cases, customers want greater clarity on how their seafood is being labelled. Thus, High Liner has made this information available through our website and consumer 1-877 number.
3) WHY DO SO MANY HIGH LINER PRODUCTS SAY “PRODUCT OF CHINA” – WHY DOES SO MUCH HIGH LINER FISH COME FROM CHINA?
Very few of our products actually come from China. In fact, only 2 (Tilapia and Shrimp) out of 13 major seafood products sold by High Liner are from that country. All High Liner wild fish are caught in international waters where they are frozen within hours of being caught. The fish is shipped to China, where it is filleted (cut) and packaged. For filleting, the frozen fish are slightly “tempered” to allow the fish to be cut.
With our seafood processed in Canada and/or the United States or China, companies like High Liner must follow Canadian labelling laws. This means that a number of High Liner products are described as “Product of China” even if they don’t come from that country.
4) WHY ARE THE FISH NOT CAUGHT AND FILLETED IN CANADA?
- The availability of fish for harvesting by the Canadian Fishing Industry in Canadian waters has been reduced dramatically over the past several years. The return of the stocks has taken longer than anyone expected. The Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans still believes that the fish stocks have not recovered sufficiently to allow the resumption of the fishery on a grand scale.
- Some species of fish and shellfish are not available from Canadian sources due to climatic conditions.
- Chinese processors have built state-of-the-art processing facilities to meet the growing demand of the global market. This has given them a greater buying power that allows for better-priced seafood.
- High Liner uses China to cut some of our fish as it helps to keep our costs in line. This allows High Liner to provide competitively priced products to our consumers. Research has shown that we all want the highest quality products, yet at the best price possible.
- The majority of Canadian fish and seafood companies use China to process and/or fillet their fish.
5) ARE THE FISH PROCESSED IN OTHER COUNTRIES TO CANADIAN STANDARDS?
Yes. We partner with a select group of suppliers who are committed to excellence and share our vision for products of superior quality. Our suppliers understand and apply Canadian standards to their processing.
High Liner employees in China oversee the production of our products. These production facilities, their management and employees, have been trained by High Liner Quality Assurance Technicians to meet Canadian and High Liner’s high quality standards. These production facilities are subject to continuous inspections. All products produced are tested through a third party certified laboratory, both in the country of origin and in Canada, to Canadian and High Liner’s quality standards.
6) HIGH LINER’S QUALITY ASSURANCE PROGRAM
All High Liner fish and shellfish products go through quality control measures that are stringent and comprehensive, ensuring that food safety and quality are never compromised.
All High Liner products are processed, packed and inspected according to Canadian Fish Inspection Regulations, and meet Consumer Packaging and Labelling Regulations. High Liner uses third party certified laboratories to test products in the country of origin and then once again when they arrive in Canada. All testing is done to Canadian and High Liner Foods high quality standards.
Following is High Liner’s Quality Assurance Program.
- Supplier Screening
Before being approved as a global supplier, a production plant must undergo a rigorous on-site audit that is subject to periodic and ongoing review to ensure that the production facility, its quality controls, and manufacturing practices, meet or exceed the requirements of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s Quality Management Program, the Fish Inspection Regulations, the Food and Drug Regulations, and the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act.
- Product Specification Development
A set of detailed product specifications, and a Quality Management Plan is developed according to Canadian Fish Inspection Regulations to ensure product safety, quality, and consistency. The specifications and Quality Management Plan are reviewed and approved by High Liner before the supplier can start producing product.
- On-site Supervision
High Liner Quality Assurance Technicians regularly work on-site to train processors in the product specifications and internal quality controls required. High Liner conducts visits to follow up and ensure ongoing compliance.
- Product Analysis
Product samples are analyzed and tested on an ongoing basis by third party certified laboratories and High Liner Quality Assurance Technicians, both where the products are produced and when they arrive in Canada. All products are tested and the results are evaluated against Canadian standards.
- Continuous Monitoring
During processing, the plant’s internal controls are monitored, with the results relayed electronically to our head office in Lunenburg, N.S. If the process or test results do not adhere to pre-set controls, production is halted and the product rejected until the problem is identified and corrected.
- Source of Seafood
90% of the fish and shellfish used in High Liner products are caught wild in the world’s oceans and seas. 10% of the fish and shellfish come from specially chosen fish and shellfish farms. No matter where our seafood is sourced from, be assured that High Liner’s stringent and comprehensive quality control measures are being implemented, ensuring that food safety and quality are never compromised.
All packaging is coded, allowing us to trace exactly when and where a product was produced, and with our state-of-the-art computer systems, we know exactly where and when the product was shipped to, and received by, Canadian distribution centres. High Liner’s traceability practices meet or exceed the requirements of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s Quality Management Program.
- Tamper-Proof Shipping Containers
The finished product is placed in secure, temperature-controlled containers that are protected by tamper-proof seals. This is to the requirements of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s Quality Management Program.
- Final Inspection
When products are received at High Liner, we again send it to a third party certified laboratory for testing. All products are subjected to inspection and testing to the requirements of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.
7) HOW CAN HIGH LINER PREVENT THE KIND OF SAFETY ISSUES THAT HAVE BEEN RAISED ABOUT OTHER SEAFOOD PRODUCTS FROM CHINA?
High Liner Foods does more than what’s required of basic seafood importers.
- Before the seafood is imported into Canada, High Liner Foods requires independent third party testing of the fish and shellfish by certified laboratories in the country of origin. These products are tested to Canadian standards and the results are evaluated against Canadian standards. If the fish or shellfish do not meet Canadian standards, High Liner Foods does not purchase the product.
- Once the seafood is imported into Canada, High Liner retests to verify the test results. The retesting is again by a third party certified laboratory. High Liner uses laboratories certified by the Standards Council of Canada to verify the food quality and safety of all fish and shellfish that High Liner imports.
Should you wish to view more about our Quality Assurance, please click here. Should you have any other questions and wish to speak with someone directly, please call 1-877-991-3474 weekdays from 8:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. Eastern time.