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Fresh = frozen in quality of cod?


Nowadays, a sustainable fisheries sector and increased utilization of catch is of high importance. One of the main challenges is the seasonal variations in amount of landings throughout the year. While most of the whitefish is caught and processed during the winter, the market demands all-year deliveries. Today, the seagoing fleet mainly land frozen headed and gutted (HG) cod.

QualiFish - Work Package 2

The quality of fish frozen on board is often too low for high cost markets. Work Package 2 in the QualiFish project aims to address these challenges by i) develop new technology for monitoring and optimization of thawing processes, ii) develop novel market oriented technology concepts and models for raw material and product differentiation that enable delivery of "the right product to the right market", and iii) assess food safety and quality as affected by the introduction of new technology.

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Since a large part of the commercial catch of Atlantic cod is frozen whole at sea, it is important that it is correctly frozen, stored and thawed, in order to preserve its quality. Properly frozen/thawed cod can be of good quality and of comparable quality to fresh fish. High quality frozen/thawed raw material can contribute to a more continuous production throughout the year, enabling the whitefish industry to supply the market with high quality products during the entire year. The choice of thawing method is very important with regard to the quality of the fish, since thawing can escalate quality degradation. Preliminary trials have been performed on frozen cod fillets where different thawing procedures were evaluated, such as air, water bath and microwave thawing. The results gave important insight on how different thawing procedures can affect the fish quality. This will be further investigated in the fall 2014 where whole (HG) frozen cod will be subjected to at least four different thawing techniques. The suggested thawing techniques will both include optimization of existing methods and also new and novel approaches. Several physicochemical analyses will be conducted to evaluate the effects of the different thawing techniques on the fish quality. Moreover, the effects of the different thawing techniques on food safety will be thoroughly assessed.

QualiFish Food Scanner © SINTEF 

Characterization of raw materials followed by differentiation prior to production and during the processing stage is required to obtain target quality demanded by the market. Rapid in-/on-line methods, which are increasingly used in the food industry, will be applied in the project. Automated sorting and grading has been shown to increase utilization of raw materials, value adding, increase effectiveness, and generate more sustainable solutions for a range of food industries and value chains. Definitions of relevant case studies are under construction and are estimated to be finalized in the fall 2014.

For additional information please contact Magnea G. Karlsdottir at Matís.

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