X-rays can penetrate matter without harming it and at the same time reveal components of different density within it. This ability can be of use in the seafood sector, too, for example during material inspection and quality tests, or in intelligent processing machines. Apart from that, thanks to its germ-killing effect irradiation can be used to preserve products. Irradiated foods arouse fears among many consumers, however.

Founded in 2003 and based in Kopavogur Iceland, Valka specializes in the development and marketing of equipment and automation solutions for the fish processing industry. Although a relatively young company, Valka has already built a reputation for manufacturing high quality products. The company designs high technology hardware and software aimed at enhancing productivity and increasing profitability.

Every living creature, and thus every species of fish and aquatic animal, has a natural “signature” which is encoded in its genetic material. The sequence of molecular building blocks (nucleotides) in the genetic molecule, the DNA, is unique for every individual. Being able to read this nucleotide sequence enables conclusions to be drawn about the species in question – not only in the case of raw fishes but often also of cooked, smoked, marinated or sterilised products. 

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) together with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and other bodies have recently launched a campaign to reduce the estimated 1.3bn tonnes of food that is lost or wasted each year around the globe. The campaign Think.Eat.Save. Reduce your Foodprint. seeks to reduce waste all along the food production and consumption chain.

The Polish fish processing industry is highly dynamic producing between 360 and 380 thousand tonnes of product annually valued at EUR1.5tr (in comparison Germany with twice the population produced just over 490 thousand tonnes of processed products). About 60% of the volume is exported to countries within and outside Europe, among them Germany, the UK, France, and Denmark.

The purchase of refurbished equipment for the start-up of a new seafood processing business or the expansion of an existing one can help keep costs under control. Still, it is a substantial investment, and a wrong decision can have serious consequences.

Basically, the techniques and equipment used in industrial cooking don’t differ much from the appliances that we use in our own kitchens. The cooking processes are comparable, and even in big processing plants the fish is fried, deep-fried, steamed, grilled or baked. What distinguishes an industrial processing line from a household frying pan is actually only its size, capacity and performance. In addition, industrial technology has to be safe and reliable so as not to endanger consumers’ health through undercooked products.

Optical sorting refers to the use of optical technology to separate a flow of products into different streams based on certain criteria. The technology is an indefatigable and less error-prone replacement for manual unhygienic sorting and it does not take long to cover the cost of the investment.

Thawing is an essential part of many industrial production processes. It affects both material yield and the quality of the final products and thus ultimately the efficiency of the entire process. As freezing is used more and more in the fish industry, the significance of the technical procedures required for industrial thawing (the reverse process, so to speak) increases to the same extent.

After drying and salting, smoking is one of the oldest methods of preserving foods. All three techniques remove some of the tissue fluid from the food and thereby slow down spoilage and decay processes. This mode of action is still used today when we smoke food products. However, modern technology and electronic controls ensure an optimum smoke environment to produce healthier, tasty smoked products.

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