Technology

The purchase of refurbished equipment for the start-up of a new seafood processing business or the expansion of an existing one can help keep costs under control. Still, it is a substantial investment, and a wrong decision can have serious consequences.

Basically, the techniques and equipment used in industrial cooking don’t differ much from the appliances that we use in our own kitchens. The cooking processes are comparable, and even in big processing plants the fish is fried, deep-fried, steamed, grilled or baked. What distinguishes an industrial processing line from a household frying pan is actually only its size, capacity and performance. In addition, industrial technology has to be safe and reliable so as not to endanger consumers’ health through undercooked products.

Optical sorting refers to the use of optical technology to separate a flow of products into different streams based on certain criteria. The technology is an indefatigable and less error-prone replacement for manual unhygienic sorting and it does not take long to cover the cost of the investment.

Thawing is an essential part of many industrial production processes. It affects both material yield and the quality of the final products and thus ultimately the efficiency of the entire process. As freezing is used more and more in the fish industry, the significance of the technical procedures required for industrial thawing (the reverse process, so to speak) increases to the same extent.

After drying and salting, smoking is one of the oldest methods of preserving foods. All three techniques remove some of the tissue fluid from the food and thereby slow down spoilage and decay processes. This mode of action is still used today when we smoke food products. However, modern technology and electronic controls ensure an optimum smoke environment to produce healthier, tasty smoked products.

New Jersey company Clam Daddy’s has been selling hard shell little neck clams (Mercenaria mercenaria) since 1984. The company breeds and grows its own fresh clams in a temperature controlled hatchery. The company focuses on upscale outlets such as gourmet restaurants and seasonal produce markets that demand top quality, rather than mass markets that buy primarily on price.

The development of plastics some fifty years ago heralded the end of the use of wood as the preferred material for storing and transporting fish and seafood. Plastics were durable, mouldable, hygienic, lightweight, with good insulating properties, and easily customised. These properties make them the most widespread material for storage and transport in the fishing and aquaculture production and processing sector.

The horsemeat scandal branded ‘horsegate’, saw millions of beef burgers, ready meals and packs of mince withdrawn from supermarket shelves in 2013 when it was revealed they contained undeclared horsemeat. According to experts and many peer reviewed publications, the seafood industry could be even more susceptible to this kind of fraud than other sectors. New technology could hold a solution.

There are thousands of fish and seafood products on the market and new ones being added every day. This places more demands on storage technology and warehouse management, for all the products have to be procured, stored and put together at the customer’s request (often in varying quantities) and delivered at the right time and in the right quantity. This would no longer be possible today without computer technology and automation in the storage sector.

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) store, display, and allow the manipulation of geographic or spatial data facilitating sharing and analysis of this information. Essentially, one can think of it as map-making on the computer, and using these maps to analyse a situation and solve problems.

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