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Scientists Offer Advice On Preserving Fish Quality

NORWAY - Good access to tray-packed, fresh fish in the shops can increase consumption of seafood. But to succeed, first-class raw materials, low temperatures and good hygiene are necessary.

Scientists Offer Advice On Preserving Fish Quality - NORWAY - Good access to tray-packed, fresh fish in the shops can increase consumption of seafood. But to succeed, first-class raw materials, low temperatures and good hygiene are necessary.


Photo: Frank Gregersen, Fiskeriforskning.
Scientists at Fiskeriforskning have prepared instructions for those who are going to offer the shops fresh seafood for sale in self-service counters.

Tray-packed fish fillets are extra vulnerable to reduced shelf life, and the fishermen and industry are facing even stricter demands as concerns the quality of fish.

Only the best raw materials

First, it is important that the fishermen deliver raw materials of outstanding quality. The fish meat is sterile when the fish is alive, and fish that is going to be used for tray packing must therefore be alive when it is taken on board in the boat.

"It is extra important that the fish is slaughtered correctly and has time to properly bleed out. After that, it must be gutted, cleaned and quickly cooled down in a mixture of ice and water", explains Scientist Jens stli at Fiskeriforskning.

The fish must not receive bumps or blows anywhere other than to the head because this reduces both the quality and shelf life. Damages also have an adverse effect when the fish is lying in the cold counter, causing customers to quickly decide to choose other foods when they shop.

Refrigeration and hygiene are critical

Scientists at Fiskeriforskning have previously proven that fresh cod and salmon must be stored at zero degrees Celsius in order to preserve the quality - and thus the shelf life - as long as possible. This applies the whole way from the fishing ground until the customer takes the finished product to the checkout counter in the shop.


Photo: Jan Fredrik Frantzen, Fiskeriforskning.
"The fish must be stored at zero degrees Celsius the whole way from the boat to the sales counter", says stli. "Only then is it possible to achieve a good enough shelf life to be able to offer a good product to the customers. The refrigeration chain must not be broken - this would ruin the fish."

It is also extra important that fish that is going to be tray-packed be handled under good hygienic conditions all the way until it is packed in the tray.

"Old fish remnants that remain in the production equipment can become "bacteria bombs". This can ruin the fish that is going to be used for tray-packed fillets", says stli in closing.

The instructions were prepared on assignment from the Norwegian Seafood Association (NSL).

Source: Fiskeriforskning - 7th August 2006

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