Acceptability and Shelf-Life of Fresh and Pasteurized Crab Meat Stored Under Different Environmental Conditions
Crab meat is important to the economy of coastal Virginia. The objectives of this study were to complete a shelf-life study on two different packaging styles of fresh crab meat and to test the inhibition capabilities of Carnobacterium piscicola against the pathogen, Listeria monocytogenes. In a shelf-life study, a 12 ounce food grade polyethylene traditional snap-lid container of fresh crab meat was compared to an 8 ounce SimpleStep® trays with Cryovac™ film of equally fresh crab meat sealed with 10,000 cc/m2/24hr oxygen transmission rate (OTR) film. Eleven g samples were used for the microbial shelf-life study conducted at 4°C for 12 days. Aerobic plate counts of crab meat indicated microbial growth from the SimpleStep® trays with Cryovac™ film in 10,000 cc/m2/24hr OTR versus the polyethylene snap-lid was not significant (P>0.05). In objective two, 25 g samples of fresh and pasteurized blue crab (Callinectes sapidus) meat were inoculated with 0.1ml of each, C. piscicola and L. monocytogenes. Three different concentrations of the inoculation levels were studied on select days at both 4°C and 10°C. Microbial spoilage was defined as 107 CFU/g. In fresh crab meat, at both 4°C and 10°C, crab meat spoilage occurred at 7 days or less. In the pasteurized crab meat, at 4°C and 10°C, spoilage did not occur prior to 26 days, and studies were terminated at 28 days of storage. The growth of the two organisms in fresh crab meat was found to be significant for the differing concentration levels and sampling days (P<0.05). The growth of the two organisms in pasteurized crab meat was significant for different concentration levels, sampling days and temperature (P<0.05). In both fresh and pasteurized crab meat, regardless of the inoculation ratios, the L. monocytogenes and C.piscicola followed similar growth trends, but L. monocytogenes was higher in the 2:2 CFU/g concentration and lower at the 6:2 CFU/g concentration level. Although C. piscicola did not completely inhibit L. monocytogenes growth at any concentration ratio, some inhibition was observed.