Treated prawns: day 1 versus day 8. (Photo: Xyrex Prawnfresh)
Louisiana shrimpers test treatment for 'black spot'
Wednesday, July 06, 2011, 23:50 (GMT + 9)
New Orleans’s shrimp sector has started testing a sulphite-free liquid enzyme treatment to prevent melanosis in harvested shellfish. The treatment helps shrimpers bring good-quality and more environmentally friendly shellfish to the market by improving the appearance and value of the shrimp.
This innovative treatment, marketed as Prawnfresh Plus, to treat “black spot” in shrimp is especially desirable because the industry continues to incur losses due to last year’s BP oil spill, which has affected marine species in the Gulf of Mexico near Louisiana.
Prawnfresh Plus is becoming increasingly popular among shellfish producers worldwide, according to Karl D Turner, president of Sea Fresh Solutions LLC, the exclusive distributor of Prawnfresh Plus in North America, and former Executive Director of the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board.
The process consists of dipping the prawns into a tank containing saltwater and Prawnfresh Plus.
|Prawns, untreated. (Photo: Xyrex, Prawnfresh)
This product will help safeguard the health of fishery workers and the general public, said John Davis, the managing director of Xyrex Ltd, the manufacturer of Prawnfresh Plus.
“We are delighted that Louisiana shrimp fishermen are now recognising the advantages of using Prawnfresh Plus,” he stated. “Karl Turner has worked really hard over recent months to achieve these results despite the setback the oil spill brought to the industry.”
Turner explained that trials in Louisiana have involved over a dozen shrimp fishers. Professors at Texas A & M and Louisiana State University (LSU) are also set to review and compare Prawnfresh Plus.
He has expressed encouragement about the test results.
|Prawns, treated. (Photo: Xyrex, Prawnfresh)
“Prior tests at the University of Glasgow (Scotland) have already demonstrated the benefits of using Prawnfresh Plus as a safe, effective product that helped delay in the onset of melanosis compared with sodium metabisulfite,” Turner said. “Prawnfresh Plus could prove to be very beneficial to Gulf shrimp fishermen, because it leaves no chemical residues or taints, resulting in a better quality catch that will bring the best possible price.”
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has given GRAS—Generally Recognized as Safe—status to the active ingredient in the treatment, which is also approved for use in the EU, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa.
Professor Jon W Bell of the LSU AgCenter Department of Food Science, who is working with Louisiana shrimp fishers and processors to create a new and better quality standards programme for the state’s shrimp, noted that even though the active enzyme in Prawnfresh prevents melanosis, “the product itself and its optimal application has not been technically validated for the Louisiana shrimp industry.”
Validation studies will be run in 2011.
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