Parasite detection system developed in Norway
A new system of detecting nematodes, or roundworms, in cod fillets has been developed at the Norwegian Institute of Food, Fisheries and Aquaculture Research (Nofima) and is now being tested at a seafood processing plant in Finnmark, in northern Norway.
Nematodes in fish fillets reduce the product’s market value, and detection and removal of the parasite increases production costs. Nematodes are more of an aesthetic issue, because cooking the fish kills the parasite; nematodes infections in humans from cod consumption are rare.
The new system automatically detects nematodes using a computer program, registering the position of each parasite in the belly, loin and tail. The system can achieve similar or better results than manual inspection of fillets on a candling table, which addresses the challenge of processing fillets at industrial speeds.
According to Nofima, the system should be incorporated after pre-trimming directly on the production line and can be used to divide the production flow in two — one clean stream going directly to portioning and packing and the other to manual trimming to remove nematodes detected by the machine.
“The fact that the inspection machines detected nematodes that were not detected during trimming indicates output equivalent to that achieved during industrial trimming of fillet. This is despite the fact that the fish fillets are only scanned with the fillet side up. Consequently, one way to improve the automatic detection of nematodes may be to scan the fillets from both sides,” said Agnar Sivertsen, project manager at Nofima.
“It is now the equipment manufacturers’ responsibility to further develop and make use of this technology,” added Sivertsen.All Food Safety & Health stories >