When we buy a packaged product or even any electronic device, we always look at the label and the information it contains. As in these cases, when it comes to fresh fish, it is important that we really know what we are buying. Do you really know how to read the fish labels? If you think you don’t know, this post interests you.

Why is fish labelling important?

As of 13 December 2014, the rules relating to labels on fishery and aquaculture products for EU consumers were changed, thus ensuring greater knowledge of the product that we are acquiring.

The European fish and Seafood labelling regulation aims to contribute to the traceability of the product and to give the consumer the possibility of developing a more informed purchase. This lies directly in our food safety and health. For example, it allows us to know if the product has been frozen previously or not and the preferential consumption date, among others. Having a good hand this information is important because you should not freeze a food that has already been frozen.

How to read the fish labelling?

The food information of the labelling has to be clear, complete and useful. Do you have any idea how fresh and frozen fish should be labelled to comply with current regulations? And what information should it contain? If the answer is no, don’t worry. Keep reading, we’ll tell you.

What information should fish labelling contain?

The data to be compulsorily displayed in packaged products and unpackaged products are:

    • In the upper left the commercial denomination and scientific name, both the real name and the name with which we know it colloquially.
    • To your right the method of production: refers to the area where they are bred (freshwater, marine,…).
    • Zone of capture/country and mass of water/country of production. It speaks both the place in which it was captured and the way it was captured and the exact area of the capture (subzone or division).
    • Fishing Gear: This part is indicated the type of fishing used for the capture of fish (hoisted nets, line, hook, traps, trawls,..) In Bluscus we bet on the arts of fishing and artisanal shellfish, to guarantee the sustainability of the environment.
    • Defrosting: The label indicates if the product has been frozen. This information is only included in packaged products or those that have been frozen for sanitary purposes.
    • Date of minimum duration and expiration date.
    • Allergens.


In addition to this information, packaged products must contain the following information:

  • List of ingredients. A list of all the ingredients should be shown, in a decreasing order of weight, headed by the title “ingredients”. This is not necessary in the case of foods with only one ingredient and whose denomination is the same as that of the ingredient.
  • Quantity of the ingredients. It should be expressed as a percentage.
  • Net amount (net weight). This amount should be expressed in grams or kilograms.
  • Conservation and utilization conditions. 
  • Name or social reason and address of the food company.
  • Country of origin or place of provenance.
  • How to use (if necessary).
  • Nutritional information (compulsory from December 13, 2016).
  • Packaging in protective atmosphere. This indication should be provided if the product has been packaged in certain gases.
  • Freezing date or first freezing date. This requirement applies only to unprocessed products.
  • Water added. It must appear in the list of ingredients in accordance with the food information regulation provided to the consumer.
  • Added proteins of different animal origin. The denomination of the food must bear an indication of the presence of these proteins and their animal origin.
  • ‘ Made from pieces of fish ‘. Products that may give the impression that they are made from a whole piece of fish, but which actually consist of different pieces combined with other ingredients (such as food additives and alimentary enzymes), or by other means, must Present this indication.
  • Packing date. This date must be contained in live bivalve molluscs and must contain at least the day and month.

Galicia leads a project to avoid fraud in the labelling of fishing

Galicia embarks with Portugal, Ireland, the United Kingdom, France and Germany in Seatraces, a project that, led by the food Biochemistry Group of the Institute of Marine Research (IIM) of Vigo (CSIC-dependent), seeks to develop techniques that To provide the control laboratories or border inspection points (PIF) with tools to determine more effectively and quickly the degree of compliance with the European labelling regulations. That is, to devise agile systems to check whether the origin shown on the label is correct or to measure the presence of added water to know if it is a fresh or thawed fish.