Sea Harvest is strictly regulated by the NRCS (National Regulator of Compulsory Specifications), the authorised and accredited body tasked with the inspection of fish for both the local and export markets. The NRCS tests for mercury and other heavy metals (including cadmium and lead) in hake, kingklip and other species on a regular basis. Levels detected are well below those required by South African and international legislations and standards, and results have shown that hake and kingklip have low mercury levels. Species with higher mercury levels than others include shark, swordfish, king mackerel and tilefish.

Sea Harvest ensures that it always conducts its business in a responsible manner and also plays an active role in creating initiatives for furthering the sustainability of South Africa’s marine resources for the benefit of future generations. The MSC ecolabel, a global gold standard for sustainable fishing practices, which has been awarded to the South African Deep Sea Trawl Industry, is present on the majority of Sea Harvest branded Cape Hake products. However, there are some Sea Harvest products which do not have this certification. This is due to several reasons. Firstly, in South Africa there is still not much recognition from consumers about what the blue ecolabel means. As consumer recognition for the label grows, it will be included on more product packs which contain sustainable Cape Hake. Another reason is that we purchase products from other fisheries to supplement the products we catch in order to meet market demand. This is due to the fact that these products have been purchased from other fisheries, which have not received an MSC accreditation but are sufficiently managed.

This is fish caught in the open sea that was allowed to naturally develop and grow without ANY intervention of any kind. Wild caught fish is rich in nutrition and flavour. Wild caught fish is one of the last remaining sources of truly organic protein.

The Marine Stewardship Council is an independent, global, non-profit organisation which was set up to find a solution to the problem of overfishing. The MSC was first established by Unilever, the world’s largest buyer of seafood, and WWF, the international conservation organisation, in 1997. The environmental standard for sustainable and well-managed fisheries was developed over a number of years to ensure fisheries do not over fish, damage the ecology or damage endangered species. Sea Harvest has been certified by the MSC since 2004.

This is the abbreviation of “Hazard Analyses and Critical Control Points”. HACCP is an international food safety management system that uses process controls to minimise food safety risks.

This is a fish that contains a liver, and therefore has predominantly white flesh that is not oily, e.g. Hake, Southern Blue Whiting and Pollock. Historically, “Cod liver oil” was produced from the livers of hake, amongst other species.

Pelagic fish are found neither close to the bottom or shore. This is fish that does not have a liver, and therefore stores its oil in its tissue. This results in a darker meat with varying oil content, depending on the species. Some of the pelagic species available include pilchard and mackerel.

Hake is a white fish species found along the coast of southern Africa at depths of between 300 and 700 meters. Two species, are found predominantly due to their habitat, namely Merluccius capensis (shallow water) and Merluccius paradoxus (deep water). Traditionally, hake was known as “stock fish” for its use as victuals for passing fleets in the 17th century. Hake is also marketed as “Cape Whiting” and in its smoked form as “Haddock”.

Haddock found in the South African market should not be confused with Haddock sold abroad. In Europe and America, Haddock is a fish species (Melanogrammus aeglefinus). It is caught primarily in the North Atlantic Ocean. The fillet has large flakes and an almost pinkish natural colour. “Haddock” in South Africa is a traditional name. It dates back to the days in which true cold smoked Haddock was imported. However, as this became scarce, and the prices rose, local producers found that Hake produced an excellent, very similar product when smoked, and the tradition was born. The Hake Fillets are placed in a tank containing a brine mixture, which consists of salt, water and a natural colourant, namely Annato (which is produced from the seed of the Bixa Orellana shrub) for a few minutes, then removed and cold smoked. Once processed, the Smoked Hake Fillets have a firmer flesh, a pleasant saltiness, a pale orange-white marbled colour and a fresh smoky flavour. This “Haddock”, as it is traditionally known in South Africa, is an excellent fish for all occasions, and is often used in the traditional “poached in milk” breakfast serving.

A Kipper is actually a herring, an oily fish type, which is brine-dyed using a natural dye (annato) and smoked. They have many bones, of which only the backbone can be removed, therefore care needs to be taken to ensure no large bones are consumed. Kippers will always contain fine, hair-like bones throughout the flesh. They are rich in omega-3 oils, vitamins and minerals.

Legally, only the backbone needs to be removed from a product to claim it is ‘deboned’. Sea Harvest employs numerous methods and systems to remove the maximum amount of bones. A statement that the product is truly boneless can however not be made and Sea Harvest therefore includes the following information on our products: “Although all care has been taken to remove all bones, some small bones might however remain.”

Scales are an integral part of many fish species. They are made up predominantly of calcium-based salts and are considered harmless. Depending on the species and the size of the fish, scales can be small and translucent. All efforts are employed to eliminate scales, but given their nature, they could be present from time to time in the product.

Contrary to popular myth that these products are made of “rejected scraps of a variety of species”, the Sea Harvest products are made from fresh flaked fish of the highest quality, to ensure that the integrity of quality has been maintained.

For a product to qualify as “LOW FAT,” the total fat content should be 3.0g or less per 100g.

 

A Sea Harvest product’s “best before” date will appear on the narrow, long side of each carton, and should be purchased on or before this date. You will, over and above this, have time for storage in your own freezer. Refer to “Storage instructions.”

All Sea Harvest packaging provides an indication on the number of portions present per selling unit. Minimum count refers to the absolute minimum number of units to be present, e.g. “minimum 4.” The selling unit could contain 5 units but never less than 4.

Storage guidelines appear on the short narrow side of the carton. This will indicate the period that you can store the product in your home freezer after purchase, and still enjoy optimum quality and value. Refer to the star rating as determined by your freezer manufacturer as a guide, e.g. should your freezer have a 3 star rating (***) and ideally operate at an average temperature of -18°C , you will be safe storing the product for a further 3 months from purchase under these conditions.

Should the back of pack suggest more than one method of preparation, the first “cooking suggestion” will yield the best results. This was pre-determined by the Sea Harvest development center, while the other options are acceptable alternative methods should you prefer.

This manifests itself in a “white froth” which is indicative of the congealing of protein (similar to what happens to an egg white when heated). This process does not detract from the quality or taste of the product. It might however detract from visual appearance. This happens to all fish species, as they all contain protein, but is more pronounced in Salmon, as the natural color (pink to orange) serves as a contrasting background to the white residue. If required, the “white froth” can be scraped off and discarded. Protein cook out is directly related to the following factors:

  • Age of fish when caught
  • Season when caught
  • Speed and temperature of home preparation

Polyphosphates are legally permitted additives that are widely used to aid processing or to improve eating quality of many foods, particularly meat and fish products. A phosphate is a salt of phosphoric acid; when a number of simple phosphate units are linked to form a more complex structure, this is known as a polyphosphate. The main value of polyphosphates lies in improving the retention of water in fish.

MSG, the abbreviated term for monosodium glutamate, is a flavour enhancer occurring naturally in foods such as tomatoes, certain cheeses and anchovies. It is also manufactured commercially from starches and sugars and added to prepared foods to enhance flavours already present in the food. All food additives are tightly regulated by various government bodies and all food additives have to be listed in the ingredient statement of food products. A high degree of safety testing is enforced to ensure that the food we eat is safe, wholesome and tasty.

Omega-3 fatty acids are found in fish oils, especially from the fatty, cold water types of fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, snoek, galjoen, herring and anchovies. They are believed to lower blood triglyceride levels (another fatty substance in the blood). They also reduce the possibility of blood clotting that can lead to a stroke or heart attack and are linked to the development of brain cells and the nervous system.

Emulsifiers are added to prevent oil and water from separating, for keeping ingredients such as spices within sauces evenly dispersed and to prevent crystallisation in frozen goods. Without them, sauces and batters would separate and become unpalatable. They are also used in products such as margarine and vegetable shortening.

These are similar to emulsifiers and help to stabilize emulsions of fat and water and prevent any unwanted chemical changes causing sauces and batters to separate and disintegrate.

Food manufacturers have a legal duty to consumers to make sure that their food remains uncontaminated up to its “sell by” date. Preservatives slow the development of bacteria and micro-organisms that would make food go off and cause food poisoning. Salt, vinegar, garlic, onion and spices are natural preservatives.

True food allergy always involves an immune mechanism and must be differentiated from food intolerances.

These reactions account for about 90% of the adverse reactions to food but do not involve the immune system. They tend to be caused more from malabsorption and/or reactions to chemical compounds in the food we eat.

Gluten is a protein found in various grains including wheat, rye, barley, buckwheat and oats. It is used in conjunction with the raising agent which makes the batter that the fish is dipped in, light and crispy.

Gluten intolerance is different to a wheat allergy. Gluten intolerance is a reaction to a fraction of gluten called gliadin. Many people may think they have a gluten intolerance but it is an extremely rare condition found mainly in people of United Kingdom origin. It is also called coeliac disease or gluten enteropathy. Patients need to avoid all gluten containing foods completely and for the duration of their life.

Fish forms an important part of your diet. Fish is high in protein in a highly digestible form and contains iron, calcium, fluorine and a range of B vitamins as well as iodine. White fish is very low in fat and calories, but even the oily varieties contain healthier types of oils and no more fat than the average serving of meat. The oil is rich in vitamins A, D and E. For a healthy diet, 2 portions of fish (approx. 100 g each) should be eaten weekly, of which one should be oil-rich.

Great care is taken in processing and transporting Sea Harvest products between the factory and the retailer to ensure the best quality, taste and texture. This is done at great cost. To ensure that you get the full benefit of this process, it is strongly recommended that the appropriate insulated vessel is used to transport product to your own freezer in the shortest possible time.

To ensure that you get the full benefit from your Sea Harvest product, it is essential that the product is used “from the freezer to the pan / oven”. Our processing technology ensures that all the nutrition, texture and taste are captured, only to be released once the home preparation commences.

Your home freezer is designed to keep frozen product frozen, and is inadequate in freezing any product, resulting in a slow freezing cycle, which in turn manifests itself in a breakdown of texture and can yield “pap” fish. Sea Harvest therefore presents the product in an IQF (individually quick frozen) or in an individually wrapped form that allows you to take from the freezer ONLY what is needed, whilst the balance is maintained in ideal conditions.

Vegetable oil consists mainly of unsaturated fats, which helps lower overall levels of cholesterol. It is essential to have a certain amount of fat in one’s diet to help the body absorb vitamins A, D, E and K, which are essential for healthy cell membranes and the production of certain hormones.