Effects of Ice and Seawater Storing Conditions on the Sensory, Chemical and Microbiological Quality of the Mediterranean Hake (Merluccius merluccius) During Post-Catch Handling and Distribution
Changes in the sensory, chemical and microbiological quality of the Mediterranean hake during post-catch handling and distribution were investigated. 115 fish samples were seasonally received during three stages of the transfer route from the sea to the consumer and two storage methods were recorded, seawater and ice storage. Microbiological evaluation revealed higher status for the ice stored samples regarding heterotrophic bacteria (2.68 log cfu/g and 1.92 log cfu/g at 22oC and 37°C respectively) and psychrotrophic counts (3.20 log cfu/g), with statistically significant differences among storage methods. Sensory evaluation also revealed higher status for the ice stored samples with a mean quality index of 0.17 and a spoilage time estimated at 30 hours, in contrast to seawater storage, which varied from 0.28 to 0.3, and a 14-hour estimated spoilage. Detected pathogens were identified mainly in the seawater stored samples, posing questions on the quality of the product reaching the seafood markets.
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