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Development of a novel Industrial Fish Drying and Maturing Process to secure Seafood Safety, Traceability, and Quality (SAFETRACKFOOD)
Start date: Dec 1, 2012, End date: Apr 30, 2015 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The European Union (EU-27) is a net importer of seafood with an overall negative trading balance of 3.9 million tonnes worth €13.7 billion, while importing 6.2 million tonnes worth €17.3 billion and exporting 2.3 million tonnes worth €3.5 billion. The total world trade of seafood has reached in 2004 a record export value of almost €54 billion, representing a 23% growth relative to 2000. Analysis of trends in the seafood industry shows new business opportunities in new innovative value added products in terms of convenience and health. Ready-to cook or ready-to-eat products, coated products and other value-added items constitue a fast-growing industry. The European stockfish industry - producing matured and dried gutted whole fish (round fish) from lean fish, mainly cod, but also ling, tusk, haddock and saithe - is facing several problems to follow the new market trend and to be competitive. Today, the stockfish production is still performed outdoors, where the fish is hanging unprotected on wooden rack using the sun and wind to dry. The stockfish product quality varies greatly with varying weather conditions. Today, up to 40% of the stockfish product is lost due to poor process quality. Our idea is to develop an innovative indoor process line for the maturing and drying of stockfish equipped with an Automated Bioprocess Control System to assure seafood safety and quality and will be of use for quality drying of gutted and de-headed round fish in general. We propose to use innovative Microsystem Technology (MST) and developing a miniaturised low-cost sensing platform. An automated bioprocess control system will be developed to monitor and control the maturing and drying processes. This allows reducing the production time by a factor of 4, from 4 months down to 30 days by accelerating the maturing and drying process through optimising production parameters.

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