Smoked Fish

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Smoked fish contains much more BaP than fresh - about 0.05 to 60 ng per g of product. The BaP levels in smoked fish depend on the contamination and composition of the raw material, parameters of smoking, quality of smoke, and protection of the edible parts by the skin (Petrun and Rubenchik, 1966; Tilgner and Daun, 1969; Wierzchowski and Gajewska, 1972; Steinig and Meyer, 1976; Steinig, 1976; Lawrence and Weber, 1984; Nistor, 1985).

The surface layers of fish, which are exposed to the smoke - especially the skin of eel, may contain up to five times more BaP than the main body of the product (Steinig, 1976). Smoke-dried bonito, a typical Japanese food (katsuobushi), is produced by repeated cycles (up to nine) of smoking for several hours at 80 to 120° C followed by overnight drying. The layer of tar that forms on such products makes up about 3% of the total fish weight. The meat under the surface contains about 10 ng BaP per g, while the tar fraction 20 to 40 times more (Kikugawa et al., 1986).

In the edible parts of fish smoked in a modern, automatic kiln with external smoke generation, the content of BaP is about 0.1 ng per g, while in products from traditional smoking ovens it is up to several ng per g (Table 13.4). The critical factors are the temperature of smoke generation, the density of smoke, and the duration of smoking. Suggestions that electrostatic smoking "may become a method which significantly reduces or completely controls the development of BaP in fish products'' (Petrun and Rubenchik, 1966) are not substantiated, since in the experiments of the cited authors the very low levels of BaP in electrostatically smoked kilka (Cluponella delicatula), 0.1 to 1.7 ng per g, was not caused by electrostatic smoke deposition, but rather by using smoke generated at 275 to 300°C.

Table 13.4

The content of benzo[a]pyrene in fish, hot-smoked in traditional kiln or smokehouse with external smoke generator.

Benzo[a]pyrene (ng/g wet weight of product)

Table 13.4

The content of benzo[a]pyrene in fish, hot-smoked in traditional kiln or smokehouse with external smoke generator.

Benzo[a]pyrene (ng/g wet weight of product)

Smoked fish

Traditional kiln

Smokehous

Eel

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