Better fish quality

The Fish Site
by The Fish Site
27 November 2006, at 12:00am

NORWAY - Use of superchilling gives better quality compared with fillets that are chilled using the regular method.

Production of superchilled filet at Aker Seafoods plant in Hammerfest. Scientist Torbjrn Tobiassen (closest) registers and enters temperatures in the fillet.
In the test, the cod was filleted, superchilled and packed at Aker Seafood's plant in Hammerfest, and thereafter transported to Denmark. The results show that the shelf life can be extended by1-2 days, and still has better quality.

But the test also shows that the fillets that were superchilled released more water after portioning and tray packing than fish that was chilled the regular way.

Want to avoid water loss

"This does not necessarily mean that the superchilled fish releases more water overall", says Senior Scientist Leif Akse at Fiskeriforskning. "It may be that a fillet chilled the regular way releases water gradually during transport, while the superchilled does it after the water frozen in it melts."

"In the test, we measured a lot of water loss after it was repacked and put in cold storage, where the temperature was 2 degrees Celsius." Even though the tray packs have a moisture-absorbing pad, it is best that as much water as possible remains in the fillet. Therefore, the scientists want to study how the water loss can be maximally reduced.

Saves money and the environment

"There have been earlier tests with superchilling of fish, but this is the first time that we have followed this type of product all the way out to the buyers in the market", says Akse.

Kristian Prytz, who has led the project on behalf of the Fillet Forum, is very pleased with the results. "?The superchilling test has shown that we can attain a longer shelf life, better quality and reduced freight costs", says Prytz.

"For companies that want to use this, it is important to let the customers know what superchilling involves." "For example, wholesalers and supermarkets are used to ice in the crates being a sign of quality. But there is no ice in the crates with the superchilled fillets, and this must be conveyed as a sign of quality for this type of products", says Prytz.

The project is a collaboration amongst the Fillet Forum in the Norwegian Seafood Federation, Aker Seafood Finnmark, Thorfisk, SINTEF Energy Research and Fiskeriforskning. The project is financed by the Fishery and Aquaculture Industry Research Fund.

Fiskeriforskning's report no. 23/06 (only in Norwegian) describes the project and can be downloaded here.

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