The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has published new scientific and technical assistance on the evaluation of the safe storage temperature that should be applied to pre-packed fishery products at retail.
The advice was compiled by a Working Group and based on a literature search and the use of published predictive microbiology growth models. The main temperature-dependent hazards for fishery products were identified as histamine formation, Listeria monocytogenes, Clostridium botulinum and Yersinia enterocolitica, but histamine formation was considered to be the most likely to occur during storage at incorrect temperatures.
The two factors with the greatest influence on the effect of temperature on histamine formation were identified as storage time and the CO2 content of the packaging atmosphere. The EFSA scientists used predictive modelling to estimate combinations of these factors that would result in 100 ppm of histamine (safe limit in EU legislation) in the product at the end of shelf life. For example, storage at 3oC for 7 days with 20% CO2 in the packaging headspace. Similar estimates were devised for the other main hazards.
The published advice can be found in full on the EFSA website here.