ABSTRACT: The effects of modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) (30:40:30 O2:CO2:N2 and 5:95 O2:CO2) on the quality of 4 ready-to-cook seafood products were studied. In particular, the investigation was carried out on hake fillets, yellow gurnard fillets, chub mackerel fillets, and entire eviscerated cuttlefish. Quality assessment was based on microbiological and sensorial indices determination. Both packaging gas mixtures contributed to a considerable slowing down of the microbial and sensorial quality loss of the investigated seafood products. Results showed that sensorial quality was the subindex that limited their shelf life. In fact, based primarily on microbiological results, samples under MAP remained acceptable up to the end of storage (that is, 14 d), regardless of fish specie. On the other hand, results from sensory analyses showed that chub mackerel fillets in MAP were acceptable up to the 6th storage d, whilst hake fillets, yellow gurnard fillets, and entire cuttlefish became unacceptable after 10 to 11 d. However, compared to control samples, an increase in the sensorial shelf life of MAP samples (ranging from about 95% to 250%) was always recorded.
Practical Application: Modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) is an inexpensive and uncomplicated method of extending shelf life of packed seafood. It could gain great attention from the fish industrial sector due to the fact that MAP is a practical and economic technique, realizable by small technical expedients. Moreover, there is great attention from the food industry and retailers to react to the growing demand for convenience food, thus promoting an increase in the assortments of ready-to-cook seafood products.