Coolrooms and Freezers for Seafood Processing Plants01 November 2017
The briny air pinches the nostrils of the seafood processing personnel as they shuffle in for their next shift. Nearby, the hum of the coolrooms and freezers are maintaining a strictly mandated chill. Happily, safe seafood storage guidelines are properly cooling the large warehouse. All while those frigid temperatures are maintained, the marine product rolls through the seafood processing plant. Down there, among the machinery, are those fish being filleted at a table?
What’s Being Prepared Down There?
That’s a ten out of ten for visual acuity, for those are filleted fish. In point of fact, a seafood processing factory covers more than fish preparation, although this is the predominant ‘catch of the day,’ as it were. Elsewhere in the warehouse, there are crustaceans, so expect the crack of lobster shells, plus the rending of crab soft tissue. The food of the sea also includes all kinds of shrimp and even more types of mollusks. Every single organism on the steel-belted conveyor belt is obviously perishable, which is a trait the food shares with animal meat. Furthermore, seafood tissue is loaded with water, so the refrigeration program has to account for the added moisture. Likewise, shucked and un-shucked shellfish organisms are bound to affect the applied refrigeration temperatures. Basically, the processing temperatures inside a seafood processing factory require special consideration, not the generic chilling program that worked well inside a meat storage facility.
Coping with Contrary Environments
Seafood preparation is a tricky business, so the refrigerated coolrooms and freezers are generally manufactured to quickly facilitate the processing operation. Fish or crustacean, shrimp or mollusc, the temperature matches the marine product. Curiously, as delicate as this work is, the plant layout requires a far more rugged design maxim. The food is sensitive to temperature shock, and it will lose flavour if that chill isn’t maintained. However, this is also a corrosive setting, a place where saltwater coats every exposed surface. Specially treated metal panels, each equipped with an effective insulating barrier, must be installed. Finally, water treatment and salt packing procedures supplement the cooling equipment. They preserve the seafood and filter wastewater from the metal-laced conveyor strips.
This isn’t yet another meat packing or processing factory, it’s a seafood processing plant, a site that maintains water level while also combatting the brine in that fluid. Cross-contamination issues are eliminated in here by carefully segregating the fish from the harvested shellfish. Temperatures are set in each zone to account for the shucked marine products, the filleted fish strips, and a dozen other marine-oriented parameters, all so that the seafood arrives fresh and safe inside a local supermarket cooler.
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