A high-pressure pasteurisation unit may hold the key to extending the shelf life of fresh blue swimmer crab meat, says Peter Jecks of Australian producer Abacus Fisheries.
Based at Carnarvon in Western Australia, Peter Jecks said the high-pressure processing (HPP) machine killed bacteria and preserved food much more effectively than more conventional methods of food processing.
Dr Janet Howieson from Curtin University said she had been involved in recent testing of the machine which is based in Manjimup, and commented that the promise shown by initial trials meant further trials potentially leading to larger scale product development and market assessment were now on the cards.
‘The HPP machine is part of new Fresh Produce Alliance food processing facility that was developed for horticulture products by the machine’s part owners, Jennie and Wayne Franceschi,’ Dr Howieson said.
‘They had expressed interest in adapting it for other industries and we knew the technology has been shown to be used for meat extraction with high recoveries in seafood such as crabs, lobsters and other crustaceans.
“The technology can also be used for shucking shellfish, extending the shelf-life and changing the texture of many products including finfish. So we went down there with around 15 different seafood products and some industry people and ran the products through various settings of the machine and then assessed the products.’
Dr Howieson said that initial and preliminary tests using Peter Jecks’s Blue Swimmer crab were positive and indicated that the shelf life of cooked crab meat could be extended from its current level of five days up to a month.
Peter Jecks described the results as a game changer. Taste tests had revealed that four-week old cooked product processed through the HPP machine tasted as good as freshly cooked crab.