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Effect of temperature on the spoilage rate of whole, unprocessed crabs: Carcinus maenas, Necora puber and Cancer pagurus

Robson, A.A.; Kelly, M.S.; Latchford, J.W.

Food Microbiology 24(4): 419-424

2007


ISSN/ISBN: 0740-0020
PMID: 17189768
DOI: 10.1016/j.fm.2006.07.016
Accession: 013038003

Shelf life of whole, initially live, crabs depended primarily on the storage conditions and the time at which death occurred. Large differences in the time that individual crab species survived particular storage conditions resulted in wide variations in shelf-life. Bacterial spoilage of Carcinus maenas, Necora puber and Cancer pagurus, measured using aerobic plate counts, indicated that on ice at 4 degrees C whole unprocessed crabs had a shelf life approximately 9-11 days, at 4 degrees C approximately 13-29 days, in simulated supermarket conditions of sale approximately 5-7 days and at 20 degrees C approximately 2-16 days. Storage of whole unprocessed crabs chilled at 4 degrees C considerably extended shelf life compared to crabs stored on ice. Live crabs stored on ice died within 24h, most likely due to thermal shock and their early death was responsible for their more rapid increase in bacterial numbers compared to crabs stored at 4 degrees C. No growth of bacteria occurred in the flesh of live crabs stored at 4 degrees C for between 128 and 504 h. Crab flesh quality deteriorated prior to maximum shelf-life (defined as the time at which bacterial load reached log 5 cfu/g crabmeat) in some instances. The best compromise between high crabmeat yield and long shelf-life is likely to be to transport crabs at 4 degrees C live to market where they could be stored live at 4 degrees C without spoilage for 2 weeks before placed on ice at 4 degrees C, with a potential maximum shelf life of approximately 24 days.

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