Polish processors express alarm over EU’s new rule change for smoked salmon

Editorial Staff

In Poland, where 240,000 tons of Norwegian salmon valued at €1.4 billion are processed annually, new EU regulations are causing alarm.

The Polish Association of Fish Processors (PSPR) has expressed its concerns regarding the European Parliament’s (EP) regulations that now impose a time limit on the “stiffening” process in salmon processing.

Passed on Thursday, the amendment to EU regulations on the hygiene of food of animal origin introduces a time limit on the “stiffening” process that is applied by fish processors to ensure the safety and quality of their smoked salmon products.

“Stiffening” concerns keeping the fish semi-product at a temperature of minus 11 degrees Centigrade before further processing.

In Poland, where 240,000 tons of Norwegian salmon valued at €1.4 billion are processed annually, this new regulation is causing alarm.

What is the stiffening process and why are EU changes to the laws around it so controversial?

Arletta Wenderlich, the director of PSPR, said in an interview with the Polish Press Agency (PAP) on Saturday that the new rule would complicate the logistics process by reducing the maximum period for stiffening and slicing smoked fillets to 96 hours.

Until now, EU regulations did not restrict the time for keeping the semi-finished product at the stiffening temperature before slicing the smoked fish, she said.

She mentioned that “processing companies require a maximum of two weeks to complete this operation in order to ensure smooth delivery of the product to retail chains.”

“The size of orders varies, sometimes they are smaller and other times larger,” she added, “therefore, there are instances when it becomes necessary to maintain the smoked fillets at the stiffening temperature for an extended duration.”

“After 96 hours, the product will now be considered unsuitable for consumption and have to be discarded. This restriction lacks scientific justification, as smoked fillets kept at the stiffening temperature remain safe to consume for a significantly longer period,” she said.

Regulation may harm Polish companies

She went on to say that the implementation of new regulations would result in Polish companies “potentially being unable to meet the demands of numerous foreign customers.”

The Polish fish processing industry currently provides employment for around 20,000 individuals, with 6,000 of them working in the salmon processing sector. Approximately 17% of Norwegian fish exports undergo processing in Poland.

Polish fish processing holds the third position in terms of turnover in the EU, amounting to €3.4 billion and a 12% share.


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