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New project aims to extend fish and seafood shelf-life

02 October 2020

Campden BRI is looking for partners to help with new research that aims to increase the shelf-life of fresh fish and seafood. Millions of pounds worth of wasted food could be saved by extending shelf-life by a day or more. 

Greg Jones, Campden BRI microbiologist is leading the project. He said: “This research will focus on whether existing standards for assessing shelf-life are overly cautious. When it comes to shelf-life, fish and seafood are renowned for being highly-perishable, but it’s still quite possible that current rejection thresholds for levels of microorganisms are set unrealistically low, leading to significant wastage and cost. We’ll be undertaking microbiological, chemical and sensory testing to see if reviewing these standards can achieve improved shelf-life without compromising product safety.”

The scientists are looking for fish and seafood producers, and retailers, to work with them on the project so that they can undertake investigations and analyses on a comprehensive range of products.

In 2011, WRAP estimated that 1.2% of fishery produce was wasted, with the cost to retailers alone of £12 million. Currently, the majority of retailers apply microbiological specifications, as indicators of quality, to the raw seafood (fish, prawns and shellfish) that they source from their suppliers. Feedback from producers suggests that the upper limits in these specifications are currently set too low to take account of the natural levels of microflora (in fish and seafood) and can potentially be exceeded even at the very start of shelf-life, despite the food being safe and organoleptically acceptable.

The research will begin in November and run for a year. It will involve suppliers and retailers from across the fish and seafood sector providing a range of products for testing. Any companies wanting to take part in the research should contact Greg Jones at

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