The aim of the project was to establish commercial production and market acceptance of modified atmosphere packaged scallops. This report contains the quality data obtained from raw material evaluation and the shelf life trial. The results of a market trial has been compiled by Fishmac staff.
The microbiological quality of scallops from the supply boats was assessed. A total plate count of less than 10,000 cfu/g for the raw material was required before the scallop could be packed into individual trays, vacuum ski n packed using gas permeable film. The packs were placed into a master carton and flushed with 100% carbon dioxide and sealed. The shelf life of the scallops was determined by testing for a number of microbiological and sensory criteria. When the shelf life had been determined scallops were packed in MAP and sent to buyers for appraisal. Feedback was requested from these individuals about the quality of the product.
A high bacterial load present in product from some supply vessels indicated that a qual ity assurance program and additional steps in the processing operation are required to ensure consistently low bacterial counts. The scallops packaged for the marketing trial had very high counts which could not be identified until several days after pack aging. Because of this the packs were not exported to overseas buyers. Fishmac is currently trialing a food grade chemical treatment that will assure suitable bacteriological quality of the raw material. When this process becomes part of normal producti on the quality of all the scallops processed by this factory will be suitable for MAP.
The feasibility of using “frozen at sea” scallops in modified atmosphere packs (MAP) has been proven. The shelf -life extension achieved was similar to that observed wh en fresh unfrozen scallops were used in MAP. The extended shelf life gained through the application of MAP will allo w this company to export fresh chilled scallops to any country in the world.