HPP Seafood: Shells Away with High Pressure Processing

Lobsters is a cuisine delicacy and a healthy protein source. For most of us, removing the outer lobster shell is a tricky, time-consuming and intensive task, as it requires skills, a sharp knife and most importantly, lots of patience! This is a reason why HPP offers so many advantages for Lobster and other shellfish meat extraction.

In oysters and other shelled bivalves, HPP detaches the adductor muscle to open the shell, collecting meat just with vibration as shown in the next video by Future-Cuisine Export LTD in New Zealand. Alternatively, processors may place rubber bands around the shell to prevent the oysters from randomly opening after HPP. Nowadays, removing lobster shell and oyster shucking has never been easier with high pressure processing (HPP). HPP is a food preservation technology in which foods are pressurized around 3,000-6,000 bar (44,000-87,000 psi) to eliminate harmful bacteria and extend shelf life, while keeping the natural flavor, aroma, and nutritional characteristics of foods.

Besides its use for preserving foods, HPP weakens the muscles attaching the shell and meat of crustaceans, significantly facilitating lobster meat extraction as shown in the following video made by Mitsunori, a food processing company in Japan that is one of our customers HPP Mitsunori. Outstandingly, HPP lobster stripping not only allows recovering about 100% of edible meat, which also represents the opportunity for chefs around the world to create new impactful dishes using the whole lobster.

Oysters present similar difficulties since shucking involves forcing a sharp knife to break in between both shells. Eating raw oysters is highly regarded among consumers but this practice greatly increases the risk of foodborne illness. Oysters and other bivalves (i. e. clams, mussels) feed by filtering water through their body, leading to the accumulation of potentially hazardous microorganisms like Vibrio species, coliforms and Norovirus. Raw oyster consumption during summer season is of particular concern since warm seawater temperatures provide ideal conditions for microorganisms to thrive. Cooking eliminates hazardous bacteria but is not appealing for those preferring to eat raw oysters since it takes away the flavor, texture and large part of its nutrients.

Interestingly, HPP might also be a less cruel destination for seafood, particularly for lobsters before consumption. Cooking typically involves submerging live lobsters in boiling water, leading lobsters to a prolonged and excruciating end. Conversely, scientific studies suggest that lobsters do not experience pain under HPP since pressure levels around 100 bar (1,500 psi) anesthetize lobsters by inhibiting the neurological mechanisms associated with pain response, allowing lobsters to pass away smoothly.

If you want to know more about the HPP technology and how to improve the food safety and the quality of your products, contact us, the world leading manufacturer of High Pressure Processing (HPP) equipment for the food industry.

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