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Guidelines for precooling of fresh fish during processing and choice of packaging with respect to temperature control in cold chains

Author(s):

Kristín Líf Valtýsdóttir, Björn Margeirsson, Sigurjón Arason, Hélène L. Lauzon, Emilía Martinsdóttir

Funded by:

AVS Fund of Ministry of Fisheries in Iceland (R-037 08), Technology Development Fund at the Icelandic Centre for Research (081304508), University of Iceland Research Fund and EU (contract FP6-016333-2)

Contact

Sigurjón Arason

Head Engineer

sigurjon.arason@matis.is

Guidelines for precooling of fresh fish during processing and choice of packaging with respect to temperature control in cold chains

Tilgangur leiðbeininganna er að aðstoða við val á milli mismunandi aðferða við forkælingu ferskra fiskafurða ásamt því að aðstoða við val á pakkningum með tilliti til hitaálags sem varan verður fyrir á leið sinni frá framleiðanda til kaupanda. Fjallað er um eftirfarandi forkælingaraðferðir: vökvakælingu, krapaískælingu og roðkælingu (CBC, snerti- og blásturskælingu). Einnig er fjallað um meðferð afurða á meðan vinnslu stendur og áhrif mismunandi kælimiðla á hitastýringu, gæði og geymsluþol flaka áður en vörunni er pakkað. Leiðbeiningarnar taka mið af vinnslu á mögrum hvítfiski, s.s. þorski og ýsu. Niðurstöður rannsókna sýna að vel útfærð forkæling fyrir pökkun getur skilað 3 – 5 dögum lengra geymsluþoli m.v. enga forkælingu fyrir pökkun. Ófullnægjandi vökvaskipti við vökvakælingu með tilheyrandi krossmengun geta þó gert jákvæð áhrif forkælingarinnar að engu. Íslenskir ferskfiskframleiðendur notast einkum við frauðplastkassa (EPS, expanded polystyrene) og bylgjuplastkassa (CP, corrugated plastic) til útflutnings á ferskum flökum og flakabitum. Hér er því eingöngu fjallað um fyrrgreindar pakkningagerðir. Niðurstaðan er sú að ef hitastýring er ófullnægjandi og hitasveiflur miklar er æskilegt að nota frauðplastkassa sem veita betri varmaeinangrun en bylgjuplastkassar.

The aim of the guidelines is to provide and assist with choice of different precooling techniques for fresh fish fillets as well as assist with choice of packaging with respect to thermal abuse, which the product experiences during transport and storage from processor to customer. The following precooling techniques are discussed; liquid cooling (LC), slurry ice cooling (SIC) and combined blast and contact cooling (CBCC). In addition, the following is discussed; handling during processing and the effect of applying different cooling media before packaging on temperature control, quality and shelf life of fresh fillets. The guidelines are designed with lean white fish muscle in mind, such as cod and haddock. The results reveal that efficient precooling before packaging can prolong shelf life up to 3 to 5 days compared to no precooling before packaging. If the liquid exchange in the liquid cooler’s circulation system is insufficient, cross-contamination can diminish the positive effects of precooling. Icelandic fresh fish processors mainly use expanded polystyrene (EPS) and corrugated plastic (CP) boxes for export of fresh fish fillets. The guidelines are therefore only focused on the above-mentioned packaging types. The conclusion is that if temperature control is unsatisfactory and temperature fluctuations are great, then expanded polystyrene boxes are the preferred alternative because they provide better insulation.

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Reports

The effect of different precooling media during processing and cooling techniques during packaging of cod (Gadus morhua) fillets

Author(s):

Björn Margeirsson, Hannes Magnússon, Kolbrún Sveinsdóttir, Kristín Líf Valtýsdóttir, Eyjólfur Reynisson, Sigurjón Arason

Funded by:

AVS Fund of Ministry of Fisheries in Iceland, The Technology Development Fund at the Icelandic Centre for Research, University of Iceland Research Fund

Contact

Kolbrún Sveinsdóttir

Project Manager

kolbrun.sveinsdottir@matis.is

The effect of different precooling media during processing and cooling techniques during packaging of cod (Gadus morhua) fillets

Tilgangur tilraunanna var að kanna áhrif mismunandi kælimiðla við forkælingu fyrir pökkun á hitastýringu, gæði og geymsluþol þorskflaka. Eftirfarandi kælimiðlar voru kannaðir og bornir saman við enga sérstaka forkælingu fyrir pökkun:

  1. pækill með lágu saltinnihaldi, 2) krapaís með lágu saltinnihaldi.

Auk þess voru könnuð áhrif þess að nota annars vegar ísmottur og hins vegar þurrís við geymslu flakanna. Fylgst var með breytingum á hitastigi með hitanemum á öllum stigum. Sýni voru gæðametin með skynmati, örveru- og efnamælingum í allt að 13 daga frá vinnslu og pökkun (16 daga frá veiði). Flökin voru geymd við ofurkældar aðstæður (undir 0 °C) mestan hluta geymslutímans. Lægra hitastig krapaíss en pækils leiddi til lægra hitastigs flaka við pökkun auk þess sem hiti vökvapækilsins reyndist hækka hratt þegar hlé var gert á vinnslu. Mismunandi meðhöndlun leiddi til sambærilegs ferskleikatíma samkvæmt skynmati. Hins vegar reyndist notkun vökvapækils við forkælingu fyrir pökkun leiða til 1 – 2 daga skemmra geymsluþols samanborið við enga forkælingu eða forkælingu með krapaís. Rekja má ástæður þessa til þess að pækillinn innihélt töluvert magn örvera, m.a. H2S-myndandi gerla sem eru virkir framleiðendur á trímetýlamíni (TMA). Samanburður á vökvakældu flökunum sýndi að notkun á þurrís lengdi geymsluþol um 1 dag í samanburði við ísmottur. Niðurstöður örveru- og efnamælinga voru í samræmi við þessar niðurstöður.

The aim of the experiment was to investigate effects of two cooling media during precooling at processing on temperature control, quality and storage life of cod fillets. The two cooling media compared to no special precooling during processing (NC) were: 1) liquid brine (LC) and 2) slurry ice (SIC). In addition, the influence of using either dry ice or ice packs during storage was studied. The samples were kept at superchilled conditions during most of the trial. The environmental and product temperature history of each group was studied using temperature monitors. The samples were analysed with sensory evaluation, microbial and chemical methods for up to sixteen days from catch (thirteen days from processing). Lower temperature of the slurry ice than the liquid brine resulted in lower fillet temperature at packaging and the liquid brine temperature increased rapidly during a processing break, which seems to be a weakness of the liquid brine tank. Results from sensory, microbial and chemical analysis all showed that immersing the skinless cod fillets in liquid cooling brine prior to packaging resulted in one to two days reduction of shelf life in comparison with fillets that were not immersed in liquid brine (no cooling) or in slurry ice. This could be attributed to the fact that the cooling brine carried considerable amounts of microbes including H2Sproducing bacteria which are active producers of trimethylamine (TMA). Comparison of the groups receiving liquid cooling showed that dry ice appeared to extend the shelf life of one day as compared to ice packs. The length of the freshness period was, however, similar in all experimental groups according to sensory evaluation. These results were confirmed by total volatile bases (TVB-N) and TMA analysis and microbial counts.

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