Mistakes happen during processing by either human error or equipment issues regardless of the industry you are in. The highly perishable nature of fish and seafood appear to contribute to the high amount of waste in the seafood industry. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) estimates that 35 percent of fish and seafood are wasted, with 8 percent of all fish caught being thrown back into the water dead, dying or badly damaged. Avoiding common mistakes when you're in the business of seafood processing could contribute to lessening the amount of waste and food loss. Below we discuss a few common mistakes made by seafood processing companies.
Not having a set of best practices to follow - People operate best when processes and expectations are clearly defined. This is true for the seafood processing industry too. A formal set of best practices outlining how to handle, process, store, package and ship the seafood will help to reduce the amount of waste which happens in each phase of seafood processing. Knowing how to properly operate, clean and sanitize your seafood processing equipment will further encourage good processing practices and keep food safe.
Improper hygiene - The guts of fish can carry an abundance of parasites and bacteria which can quickly be spread to the flesh of fish if not properly handled. Special care should be taken to ensure guts are quickly separated from the rest of the fish, and that the separation is done in a hygienic location with clean equipment. When fish is washed it should be done so with clean water not sea water, as sea water in not hygienic and can be a source of contamination. Talk to a member of our Technical Sales team to find the most hygienic solution for your seafood processing needs.
Not enough ice - The use of ice to preserve seafood on the fishing vessel is a common practice and helps to uphold the seafood's quality until it reaches the processing facility on shore. However the levels of ice need to be frequently monitored to ensure there is a sufficient amount to keep the seafood cool. In hotter temperatures ice melts at a faster rate, and the ice to product ratios need to be adjusted accordingly. Fisherman also need to be conscious of the amount of time spent on the water after fish have been harvested, ensuring there is an adequate amount of ice to last until they reach shore.
Improper or rough handling - Fish are fragile and need to be handled in a delicate manner to prevent them from becoming damaged. Rough handling of fish on board fishing vessels contribute to a significant amount of product loss that can be prevented with educating fishing and processing staff on proper handling techniques and instituting best practices to reduce seafood damage. Ensuring you have a hygienically design piece of equipment that is also gentle on your catch will not only prevent damage, but ensures food safety.
Not freezing fast enough - Frozen fish can hold as much or more nutritional value as fresh fish. The longer fish sits around awaiting the freezing process, the greater the risk of deterioration and contamination. In order to maintain the quality and freshness of the products the fish should be frozen as quickly as possible. Our Technical Sales team can help you determine the best solution for your production rate.
Inconsistent temperature - Fluctuating temperatures affect seafood quality during processing. The highly perishable nature of seafood requires the products remain under a consistent temperature to preserve the quality. Poor storage practices, irregular equipment temperature settings, poor facility or equipment design and transportation can contribute to the spoilage of seafood. When being sold fresh, ensuring your product is kept cool through every stage in the supply chain will keep the integrity of your product in tact.
Relying on eyesight alone to spot parasites - The human eye can be faulty when required to search for the smallest of insects or parasites and can result is missing infected products. To ensure any and all parasites are caught and removed processors should use hygienically designed equipment to help spy small parasites or insects which may have made its way into the flesh of the seafood.
Talk to a member of our Technical Sales team to determine the most hygienic and efficient solution for your seafood processing needs. We serve clients with a wide range of seafood products and deliver cost saving solutions that keep food safe.