Reports

Comparison of transport modes and packaging methods for fresh fish products - storage life study and life cycle assessment

Published:

01/10/2012

Authors:

Björn Margeirsson, Birgir Örn Smárason, Gunnar Þórðarson, Aðalheiður Ólafsdóttir, Eyjólfur Reynisson, Óðinn Gestsson, Emilía Martinsdóttir, Sigurjón Arason

Supported by:

AtVest (Atvinnuþróunarfélag Vestfjarði)

Contact

Birgir Örn Smárason

Research Group Leader

birgir@matis.is

Comparison of transport modes and packaging methods for fresh fish products - storage life study and life cycle assessment

There is a great benefit in improved control of the value chain of exports of fresh fish knuckles for distribution in retail chains in the UK. Improved packaging methods could increase the shelf life of a product, which is fundamental to this business. With an airtight container, it would be possible to transport the product in a sludge tank with a low temperature (down to -1 ° C), which would both reduce the transport cost significantly and could also extend the shelf life of the product. The method also provides the option of packaging with consumer information, which makes further packaging abroad unnecessary. In air transport, it would be possible to pack all goods in a 12 kg foam box instead of 3 kg, as is most common today, thus saving significant transport costs. Temperature measurements, sensory evaluation, chemical and microbial measurements and life cycle analysis were used to compare different packaging solutions for sea and air transport. Fresh haddock pieces in vacuum-packed containers in a container with slush ice, which were stored at a typical temperature in container transport, turned out to have a shelf life of 3-4 days longer than the other experimental groups, probably mainly due to better temperature control. Consistency between the results of sensory evaluation and microbiological measurements was generally good. The lowest environmental impact of all groups was the pot group with sea-transported, vacuum-packed packaging, but this design could be further improved with regard to the mixing of the ice scraper and fish temperature control and thus the shelf life.

The aim of the project was to compare alternative packaging methods of fresh fish loins to the traditional packaging. Comparison was made between packages in terms of temperature control and product storage life by simulating air and sea transport from Iceland to UK in air climate chambers. The evaluation was made by the sensory panel and microbialand chemical analysis by the Matís laboratory in Reykjavík. Furthermore, the environmental impact of the aforementioned transport modes and packaging methods was assessed by means of LCA (Life Cycle Assessment). About 70–75% of Iceland's exports of fresh fillets and loins are transported by air and the rest by container ships. Increased knowledge on the advantages and disadvantages of the packages used for this fresh fish export will facilitate the selection of packages and improve the quality and storage life of the products. By using vacuum-packaging it is possible to use 12 kg packages in air freight instead of the traditional 3– 5 kg packages; but the market is increasingly demanding smaller individual packages. Sea transported larger packages use less space in shipping, lowering freight cost and environmental impact. Vacuum packed haddock loins immersed in slurry ice in a fish tub stored at sea transport temperature conditions proved to have a 3–4 day longer storage life than all the other experimental groups, probably mainly because of better temperature control. Good agreement was obtained between the sensory- and microbial evaluation. Finally, the sea transport-tub-group was found to be the most environmentally friendly and could be improved with regard to product temperature control and thereby storage life.

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Reports

Functionality testing of selected Chill ‐ on technologies during a transport ‐ simulation study of palletized cod boxes: qPCR for fish spoilage bacteria, SLP model and QMRA to evaluate pathogen growth in spiked cod

Published:

01/11/2010

Authors:

Hélène L. Lauzon, Björn Margeirsson, Kolbrún Sveinsdóttir, Eyjólfur Reynisson, María Guðjónsdóttir, Emilia Martinsdóttir (Matís); Radovan Gospavic, Nasimul Haque, Viktor Popov (WIT); Guðrún Ólafsdóttir, Tómas Hafliðason, Einir Guðlaugsson, Sigurður Bogason (UoI)

Supported by:

EU IP Chill ‐ on (contract FP6‐016333‐2)

Contact

Kolbrún Sveinsdóttir

Project Manager

kolbrun.sveinsdottir@matis.is

Functionality testing of selected Chill ‐ on technologies during a transport ‐ simulation study of palletized cod boxes: qPCR for fish spoilage bacteria, SLP model and QMRA to evaluate pathogen growth in spiked cod

In this study, tests were carried out on technical solutions developed in the EU project Chill ‐ on, where a simulation experiment was set up to simulate the actual transport of fish from Iceland to Europe. The temperature fluctuations experienced by the fish were aimed at mimicking transport from Iceland to France by ship. Pallets of cod fillets in foam plastic boxes were transported to the Westman Islands by ship and back to Matís in Reykjavík. Samples from these pallets were then compared with control samples that had been stored in Matís' refrigerated conditions. Cod nuggets were also packed in consumer packs (trays) immediately after processing and then after 6 days and were stored in subcooled or refrigerated conditions. Microbial growth experiments were also performed in which Listeria monocytogenes, Escherichia coli and Salmonella Dublin were added to cod necks stored in foam boxes in conditions similar to the storage and transport processes during export. Temperature measurements, sensory evaluation, microbial and chemical measurements were used to present data to test and verify the QMRA / SLP models and quantification of Pseudomonas bacteria using qPCR technology.

The aim of the cod wet trials and the corresponding shelf life study was to include scenarios to test and demonstrate the functionality of some Chill ‐ on technologies in a simulated cod supply chain. Temperature fluctuations were induced according to the actual scenario in the supply chain of cod from Iceland to France via sea freight. The study included sample groups created at the point of processing after packaging in EPS boxes. The reference group was stored at Matís under superchilled conditions. Simulation trials for downward distribution were performed at Matís upon receipt of the pallets shipped to the Westman Isles from Reykjavik (Iceland ‐ Europe freight simulation) and compared with the reference group. Repackaging of loins in retail trays was performed on days 0 and 6 with storage under superchilled and chilled conditions, respectively. In addition, a pathogen challenge trial was performed by spiking loins (5 kg) with Listeria monocytogenes, Escherichia coli and Salmonella Dublin, followed by storage in EPS boxes under temperature conditions simulating export and distribution. Temperature recordings along with microbial, chemical and sensory analyzes from the groups evaluated provided necessary data to test and validate the QMRA / SLP models and the quantitative molecular (qPCR) method to estimate counts of pseudomonads.

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Reports

24-hour detection of undesirable microbes in food / 24-hour detection of undesirable microbes in food

Published:

01/12/2009

Authors:

Eyjólfur Reynisson, Sveinn Haukur Magnússon, Árni Rafn Rúnarsson, Viggó Þór Marteinsson

Supported by:

Tækniþróunarsjóður, AVS

Contact

Viggó Marteinsson

Research Group Leader

viggo.th.marteinsson@matis.is

24-hour detection of undesirable microbes in food / 24-hour detection of undesirable microbes in food

The aim of the project was to develop and establish methods for rapid detection of undesirable bacteria in agricultural and marine products as well as other foods. With traditional methods as used today, results are obtained after 3 and up to 7 days, but with the methods developed in this project, it is possible to get results in a few hours or within 24 hours. The method is based on real-time PCR methodology and specific amplification of the genetic material of pathogenic bacteria and other undesirable bacteria. Diagnostic methods have been developed for major pathogens (Salmonella, Campylobacter, Listeria monocytogenes, Vibrio parahaemolyticus) in milk, meat and fish products as well as for specific spoilage bacteria in food. The results of the project will improve services to the food industry in Iceland by detecting unwanted microorganisms much earlier so that it is possible to intervene in production processes and thereby increase consumer safety in agricultural and fish products.

The aim of this project was to develop and set up new methods for rapid identification of undesirable bacteria in food and feed. With today's conventional and accredited culture methods results can be expected after 3 and up to 7 days. With the new methods to be taken in use and was developed in this project, the time of diagnostic procedure will decrease to few hours or to one working day. The detection methods are based on real ‐ time PCR technology and a specific amplification of genetic material of the undesired bacteria. Diagnostic methods for the most common pathogens (Salmonella, Campylobacter, Listeria monocytogenes, Vibrio parahaemolyticus) in meat‐, milk and fish products were developed through as well as quantitative assays for the main spoilage bacteria in fish. The results of the project will be used to improve the service for the Icelandic food industry on the domestic‐ and overseas markets by having rapid diagnostic methods for bacterial contamination at hand.

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