Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can you tell me more details about your product recall at Costco Canada locations?

As a precautionary measure, we are initiating a voluntary recall of limited amounts of Ocean’s Flaked White Tuna and Ocean’s Solid White Tuna in 6 X 184g packs due to a packaging issue. Consumers should not use the product and return it to Costco for a full refund. We have not received any complaints or reports of illness.

Affected products may have been purchased at Costco between June 2nd, 2016 and July 6th, 2016 and include: 

Ocean’s Flaked White Tuna and Ocean’s Solid White Tuna are distributed through Costco Canada and no other products are affected by this event.

Below is a list of all the can codes involved in the recall:

2. Where can I find your products?

Most of our products are available nationally at various retailers, wholesalers and club stores. For specific locations for particular products, please contact us at talktous@oceanbrands.com and please remember to include your city and province.

Many of our tuna, salmon, ready-to-eat or shellfish products can be found at Costco Wholesale, Wal-Mart, Safeway, Co-op, Atlantic Co-op, Giant Tiger, London Drugs, Quality Foods, Thrifty Foods, Fiesta Farms, Sobey's, Metro, Save-On-Foods, PriceSmart, Target and IGA stores to name a few.

3. How to choose canned salmon and tuna?

Sockeye salmon is a rich red colour, ideal when you want your dish to look spectacular. For everyday sandwiches, salmon cakes or omelets, use economical pink salmon. You can choose our “no salt added” or “skinless and boneless” pink salmon if you prefer. Albacore tuna is the whitest in colour, and is referred to as “white” tuna. It is the one to choose for sushi or special salads. Skipjack is the most common type of tuna. This mild flavoured variety is labeled “light” because of its colour. Ocean’s Albacore comes in solid and flaked packs while our Light tuna comes in chunk and flaked. Use solid and chunk tuna in salads and casseroles, flaked tuna makes sandwiches a snap! For sodium reduced diets, Ocean’s also offers a Low Sodium Chunk Light Tuna and low sodium solid white tuna as well.

4. Is Ocean’s salmon wild or farmed?

Ocean’s salmon is WILD salmon, caught off the coast of British Columbia and Alaska. Whether it’s traditional canned salmon or in one of our new convenience items, such as SnacKits, Salads or Snack ‘N Lunch’s, you can be sure it’s WILD salmon!

Ocean’s. The future is wild!

5. Is your tuna dolphin-safe?

Yes. We will not harm dolphins or other marine mammals as we fish. Since 1991, Ocean Brands has led the way in environmental responsibility. We will not buy tuna from vessels that net fish associated with dolphins, or tuna caught with gill nets or drift nets, as these can sometimes entrap dolphins, other marine animals or birds. Our purchasing agreements require certification of dolphin-safe fishing practices from all our tuna suppliers.

Our Dolphin friendly policy has been certified by Earth Island Institute’s International Marine Mammal Project after rigorous screening and assessment. Earth Island Institute approved monitors have continued access to our facilities and records to ensure that this policy is upheld.

6. Is there mercury in your fish?

Most seafood will contain trace amounts of mercury with levels being affected by their environment and place in the food chain. But we know seafood is also the main source of omega-3 fatty acids that are essential for good health and proper neurological development. A study published in the prestigious Lancet concluded that the health benefits of eating fish far outweigh the negative impacts of mercury. Health Canada has a very strict limit of 0.5 parts per million which is half of the U.S. regulatory limit of 1.0 ppm. Ocean’s has a strict quality control program that starts testing at the suppliers. We test our product regularly to ensure it meets federal standards.

Read more information about Mercury and Health Canada’s recommendations

7. Potential allergens? Which of your products are nut or gluten free?

Many of our products are produced in nut-free facilities. However, due to some exceptions, please visit the Products pages of our website to see specifics for each product.

Most of our products are gluten free as well, however, we do have some ready to eat products that are not. All of our traditional canned tuna, salmon, baby clams, crabmeat, shrimp and oysters are gluten free. However, for specific products, please see the Products pages.

8. Are Ocean’s cans BPA free?

Even though Health Canada states that dietary intake of Bisphenol A (BPA) via food packaging does not currently pose a concern to health risk to the general population, Ocean Brands has made efforts to limit the use of BPA in our products.

 

Ocean’s is proud to state that all of our can manufactures for retail Salmon, Tuna, SnacKits, Flavoured tuna, Salads, Sardines, Crab, Mussels and Oysters have stated that they are no longer adding BPA to the cans or lids. However, the suppliers of these cans have stated that BPA has been in use for so long that they cannot guarantee trace amounts of BPA might not still be in the enameling machines. Conversely, our suppliers have tested the products above and have indicated that no detectable levels of BPA could be found in any of the can enamels.

Unfortunately, due to the corrosive nature of Shrimp and Clams, we have not been able to find a BPA free can supplier. We have also not been able to find a supplier for our large four pound food service items.

We are very happy with our progress in the past few years and feel confident that we will be able to find BPA free cans for Shrimp, Clams and four pound foodservice items in the near future. If you have further questions please contact talktous@oceanbrands.com

9. What are the Best before dates of your products?

Ocean’s has recently decided to voluntarily declare the best before dates on all products to allow our consumers to be sure about their product freshness. If the can is in good condition it may even last longer although optimal freshness is best when consumed earlier than the best before date. Any rusty, bulging, leaking or significantly damaged cans should be discarded and all canned food should be stored at room temperature. Cans stored at high temperatures might have a reduced shelf life.

Canned Salmon has a shelf life of 5 years from date of manufacturing. Our canned tuna (water packed) is 3 years, as are our Crabmeat, Shrimp and Baby Clams. Our ready-to-eat products, such as our Salads and Snack ‘N Lunch items are good for 2 years from the time of manufacturing. Our SnacKit products have the shortest shelf life of 18 months before the crackers may become stale.

All canned fish products should be consumed immediately after opening or, if refrigerated in a container other than the opened can, within one to three days.

For specific dates regarding any products you might have, please check the can for the best before dates or contact us at talktous@oceanbrands.com if you have any further questions.

10. What is Omega 3 and why is it good for me?

Omega 3 fatty acids are the good fats found in foods like salmon, tuna, avocado, walnuts and flax seeds. Omega 3, and regular exercise, can help get your good cholesterol (HDL cholesterol) up where it needs to be. Fish is an excellent source of protein and a source of omega-3, which may lower blood cholesterol (LDL cholesterol) and increase heart health.

Omega 3’s are particularly important for cognitive and behavioral function of the brain. In fact, infants who do not get enough omega-3 fatty acids from their mothers during pregnancy are at risk for developing vision and nerve problems. On the research frontiers, omega 3’s have also been linked to reduction in sudden cardiac death, reduction in triglycerides, reduction in depression disorders, and improvement in arthritis and osteoporosis to name a few. There are a number of studies being conducted in North America help clarify the benefits even further.

A well balanced diet of a variety of types of fish is always recommended to get the full benefits of omega 3's. Salmon and mackerel are two fish species that are a good source of omega 3's. According to Health Canada's food guide, "Eating Well with Canada's Food Guide recommends at least two Food Guide Servings of 75 grams (½ cup) each week of fish. Choose fish such as char, herring, mackerel, salmon, sardines and trout. " This is not only for Omega 3 but as a lower fat alternative to other forms of protein that are higher in the “bad” cholesterol (LDL cholesterol). While Health Canada does not have a recommended daily intake for omega 3, studies show that a daily range of 0.5g to 1.8g significantly reduces death from heart disease. The amount of omega 3 found in canned salmon is about 1.1g per 100g serving and light skipjack tuna is about 0.2g per 100g serving.

As stated by the Canadian Heart & Stroke Foundation, “You need a certain amount of fat in your diet for healthy functioning. But eating too much of the wrong kinds of fat may cause an unhealthy imbalance, raising the “bad” LDL cholesterol and lowering the “good” HDL cholesterol, which can increase your risk of high blood pressure, clogging of the arteries, heart attack and stroke. That’s why it’s important to eat a healthy diet that is lower in fat, especially saturated and trans fats. Not all fats are created equal. The healthier fats are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated, while the unhealthier ones are saturated and trans fats.”

For more information, visit the Health Canada Food Guide website, Canada’s Physical Activity Guide website, and the Heart & Stroke Foundation website. All are great sources of information about health, nutrition and exercise.

No one food, diet or exercise can replace a lifestyle of balanced eating and activity!

11. What is Struvite? It looks like glass in my salmon or tuna.

The crystal you discovered is not glass but a hard mineral salt called Struvite. Although this naturally occurring salt is found in virtually all canned seafood products; it may, on rare occasions, form crystals that have a glass like appearance. These crystals may be aesthetically unpleasant, but they represent no health hazard and actually contain minerals that are important for proper nutrition.

The easiest way to determine if it is indeed Struvite or not, is to place it in some vinegar and let it sit for a few hours or overnight. If it is the salt, it will dissolve in the vinegar whereas glass will not. There is some literature on Struvite available from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). If you’d like to read further on this please click on the PDF below.

Download more info about Struvite (40KB PDF)

12. Why would there be a bone in my tuna?

Every effort is made to ensure the tuna is free of any bone before being canned. Highly skilled technicians hand process the fish to ensure that all of the bone is removed. On very rare occasions, a hidden bone, set in the tuna loin may not be detected. However, since the canning process is done at such high heats, generally the process will make any remaining bone in the can so soft it would easily crush between your fingers.

13. Can you let me know what your production process is for your smoked oysters?

Under our QMPI, a potential supplier must have a detailed information about the sources of the raw materials such as: the can-maker, controls on can/end quality, a description of the cannery and grounds, pest control, cleaning procedures, employee training, final product inspection, and processing methods. We also require all factories to have completed a Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) evaluation of the facility. This is an internationally recognized scientific method of analyzing potential hazards in the plant and setting up systems so those hazards are averted.

If we are satisfied with this information, we send a qualified quality assurance personnel to inspect the factory and ensure all programs are being properly implemented and monitored. The inspector also inspects the harvesting areas, in this case the oyster growing farms.  The facility then has to be re-inspected by an independent third party inspector to the Global Food Standards. This is an internationally recognized food standard that originated in Europe. Both the Global Food Standard audit and our internal audit are repeated on an annual basis. 

If the factory passes both inspections, our purchasing department may put in an order to the supplier. Prior to this order being completed, the supplier must send us a sample from the batch. Our quality control team inspects the sample and, if satisfied, the buying department may complete the order.

All factories in China are inspected twice a year. Although China has had serious problems in its food production, not all the food suppliers have poor standards. The companies that we are buying from have the equivalent safety and quality standards as facilities in North America or Europe.

14. What kind of precaution are you taking in making sure that your seafood products are free of radiation?

All of our products are imported and tested according to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency Quality Management Program for Imports (QMPI). This is a voluntary program designed by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to ensure the safety of our products.

Ocean’s has looked into this matter in the past as it is important to us to ensure that we are providing health conscience products to our customers. We are constantly monitoring the situation in Japan. We use various government food agencies such as CFIA, FDA, Japan and EU to monitor the ocean waters for radiation due to the Fukushima spill.

In response to the March 2011 earthquake in Japan, the CFIA has conducted some testing of domestic salmon for radioactivity. Domestic fish samples were drawn in August 2011 comprised of 2 samples of each Pacific salmon species and 2 samples of albacore tuna. The results were all less than the Minimum Detectable Concentration (MDC). These domestic fish test results are posted on the CFIA website and can be accessed at http://www.inspection.gc.ca/english/fssa/imp/fispoie.shtml.  Also available on the CFIA website is the Japan Nuclear Crisis webpage which provides information regarding measures taken by the CFIA with respect to imported and domestic food. Links are provide on this webpage to test results for imported food products from Japan, domestic milk from BC and the domestic fish from BC. http://www.cfia-acia.agr.ca/food/imports/japan-nuclear-crisis/eng/1384447285082/1384448940388.

As of March 10, 2014, FDA has tested 1,345 import and domestic samples specifically to monitor for Fukushima contamination. Two hundred and twenty-five of these were seafood or seafood products. Of the 1,345 samples, two were found to contain detectable levels of Cesium, but the levels were well below the established Derived Intervention Level (DIL) and posed no public health concern. http://www.fda.gov/newsevents/publichealthfocus/ucm247403.htm

15. What is the source of your canned salmon products?

Our canned salmon products (labelled as product of Canada or USA) are made with 100% wild Pacific salmon caught off the coast of BC & Alaska. The fresh salmon is then processed in our canneries located in BC & Alaska.

16. What is the source of your imported products?

Ocean Brands uses only the very best products which includes not only our tuna and salmon but also specialty products such as canned mussels, oysters and clams. Some of these products are not native to North American waters and must be imported from various Asian countries.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) regulates and inspects to ensure that imported seafood products meet or surpass the tough Canadian standards. In addition, our own Quality Assurance team travels overseas to inspect and approve the plants, the processing and the employee facilities on a regular basis. Furthermore, these products are regularly sampled and inspected upon arrival in Canada before distribution to the market to verify that they meet our requirements.

In today's global economy, processors of canned seafood located on all continents that supply North American, European and various other markets are subject to the toughest regulations, inspections and the highest standards for sanitation, safety and quality. We can assure you that there are no issues regarding cleanliness or food safety within any of the packers' plants that supply Ocean Brands products.

17. How do you store canned salmon or tuna after opening?

Canned salmon or tuna can be refrigerated for up to three (3) days after opening without spoiling. You can also freeze canned salmon or tuna in plastic freezer bags or containers. Just remember to thaw it before use. Freezing extends the storage time by up to three (3) months or more. As with the handling of any perishable food, however, canned salmon or tuna should not be left at room temperature for unnecessary periods of time after opening.

18. What is the curd-like substance found in canned salmon?

A white or creamy coloured substance resembling coagulated egg white is sometimes found on the surface of canned salmon. This substance is commonly mistaken for congealed fat. In fact, it is a protein-like material present in the natural juices of raw salmon flesh that gets separated out and coagulates during the cooking process. The coagulation of these proteins is similar to the coagulation of albumen protein in raw egg white when boiled.

 

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