Cooling Oysters to Within the New 10 Hour Required Time Frame from the Environment to 50 Fahrenheit or Below in a Refrigerated Storage Area
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A first encounter with the ruling that required Virginia original dealers of shellstock oysters destined for the half shell market to reduce the internal temperature to below 50 ⁰F within 10 hour of harvest was in reviewing a thermal model of a pallet of oysters bound for shipment. (Figure 1) The model was of a pallet of oyster boxes 48 x 40 x 60 inches tall, wrapped in plastic, as is the practice in shipment and placed in a blast freezer at -40⁰F. The model provided for temperature probes placed within the boxes at different parts of the pallet stack showed that the oyster internal temperatures did not achieve temperature below 50 ⁰F within the 10 hour time frame. (Figure 2) The model was then broken down into 48x40 x12 inches or equivalent of 1layer on a pallet, wrapped in plastic and placed in a blast freezer at – 40 ⁰F. The model again provided for temperature probes placed within the boxes however oyster internal temperature again did not achieve temperature below 50 ⁰F within the 10 hour time frame (Figure 3) (Conversation with Mike Jahncke Ph.D. Virginia Seafood AREC Director, June 1, 2010). A data logging apparatus was employed to test the capabilities of three major seafood companies to meet the new standard.