Feasibility study for packaging and pasteurizing meat of the blue crab, Callinectes sapidus, in retort pouches

TR Number
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

The purpose of this research was to determine the feasibility of pasteurizing crabmeat in retort pouches compared to cans. Retort pouches and cans were packed with various amounts of crabmeat, pasteurized to an internal temperature of 185°F (85°C) for 1 min, and subsequently cooled. The criteria for evaluation were total processing time, process lethality (F value), microbiological stability and sensory evaluation.

Pasteurizing crabmeat in retort pouches resulted in total processing times that were significantly less (P ≥ 0.05) than cans. Also, pasteurizing to targeted F values provided a more rapid and efficient way to achieve equivalent processes. Thus, equivalent can processes were given to pouches in significantly less (P ≥ 0.05) time.

Microbial loads were reduced by greater than 99% in both pouches and 65 cans following pasteurization to a target F value (F⁶⁵₁₈₅ = 24). This reduction was maintained during 6 months storage at 36°F (2.2°C).

Sensory evaluations conducted over a 6 month period indicated no real preference for crabmeat packaged in retort pouches or cans. However, crabmeat packed in pouches was significantly better (P ≥ 0.05) on some weeks. Hedonic scores indicated meat in both types of containers were acceptable for the duration of the study. It was concluded that packaging and pasteurizing crabmeat in retort pouches is an acceptable, if not superior, method of pasteurization.