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Shell fish in France

Since evacuation, backflushing with modified atmosphere, and lid-sealing are at the heart of any discussion of case-ready meat, it’s worth taking note of a recent MAP development at the French food producer Miti—even though it involves shell fish rather than meat.Miti worked with Multivac (www.multivac.com) to design a T 350 tray sealer that heat-seals not film but rather a rigid lid to trays of cooked shrimp. According to Miti managing director Pierre Roffino, the idea behind this packaging format was to give the best possible visual presentation for the high-value product inside. Needless to say, sealing a rigid lid to the tray makes some unusual demands on the sealing technology, including the need for a special die.The Multivac machine’s continuous transport system brings hand-loaded trays with the lid already manually placed in position on the trays. The lid is raised slightly to permit evacuation of ambient atmosphere and backflushing with carbon dioxide and nitrogen. The lid is then pressed down mechanically onto the tray and thermally sealed.An extremely low level of residual O2, 0.2%, is achieved, and this helps the sensitive product to retain quality throughout the 15-day refrigerated shelf life. Material specs were not available at press time.

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