Contents Index

Packing Fish in a Modified Atmosphere

Accompanying Notes
Table of Contents

By D. C. Cann



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Accompanying Notes

Defines modified atmosphere packaging, and distinguishes it from controlled atmosphere packaging. These types of packaging are often referred to generically as gas packing. Summarises the advantages and disadvantages of the process for fish products. Advises on the selection and quality of fish for packing, the appropriate gas mixture, the equipment and materials, the packing stage and storage life of the packs. Emphasises the importance of chilled storage, indicates some pitfalls, and comments on the safety of packs with respect to potential food poisoning. Since the effect of carbon dioxide is mainly to retard bacterial spoilage, any extension of chilled shelf life gained from packaging in such modified atmospheres, in comparison with air packs, is most likely to occur during the phase of bacterial spoilage of the product rather than the autolytic phase. Not all fish spoilage bacteria are inhibited to the same extent, which may help to explain the reduced extension of shelf life of white fish compared with meat products. The actual extension obtained in practice is highly dependent on species, quality of the fish as packed, control of the chill temperature after production and during distribution and retail sale, and the criteria used for determining the quality and shelf life. It is important to note that fish spoils twice as fast at 5C compared with the rate at 0C.

(FAO in partnership with Support unit for International Fisheries and Aquatic Research, SIFAR, 2001).

Table of Contents

What is modified atmosphere packing?
What are the advantages?
What are the disadvantages?
Which gas mixture?
Machinery and materials
Quality of fish
Packing the fish
Storage life of packs

Contents Index