How fresh is the fish?
The use of standardised sensory evaluations makes it possible to rapidly determine the freshness of a batch of fish.
The Quality Index Method (QIM) is based on objective evaluations of important quality parameters of raw fish.
A score is given from 0 to 3 based on the changes that occur in appearance, odour, gills, eyes and texture of the whole fish. The result shows the remaining shelf life of the fish.
This provides consumers and retailers alike with a rapid and objective method for evaluating the quality of the fish.
The measurements are standardised and the method may be carried out at any stage – on arrival at the production plant, during storage or at the time of sale.
QIM schemes have so far been prepared for the following species: brill, cod, deep water shrimp, farmed salmon, whole fjord shrimp, haddock, herring, peeled shrimp, plaice, pollock, redfish, sole and turbot. Schemes for other species are currently in the development phase.
"It is important that the person evaluating the fish has undergone the necessary training in the method," says Joop Luten, Project Manager of QIM Eurofish and EU Business Developer/Senior Scientist at Nofima.
"Using QIM is not reliant on knowing the day of the catch as the method estimates the remaining shelf life. A minimum three fish per batch must be evaluated each time and the lower the score, the fresher the fish."
The method is available in 11 different languages and may be downloaded free on the QIM Eurofish website. Nofima also offers an introductory course for those wishing to learn more.
QIM is based on the results of several EU-financed research projects. The method has been developed by QIM Eurofish, an alliance of several European research institutions. Nofima is one of the participants and is coordinating the project.