Science Serving Maryland's Coasts

Research Publications: UM-SG-RS-2005-12


A comparison of different processing methods for picked blue crab (Callinectes sapidus).




Senkel, IA; Jolbitado, B; Butler, EM; Rippen, TE


Journal of Food Protection 68(2):360-365


Five methods for producing picked crab meat from cooked blue crab (Callinectes sapidus) were evaluated for internal food temperatures and bacterial numbers at various process points. Whole shell-on crabs, crab cores ("backed" crabs with carapace removed), and crab meat samples were analyzed for standard plate count, total coliforms, fecal coliforms, Escherichia coli, and Staphylococcus aureus. For three of the processes, crabs were backed and washed a substantial time before picking; one of the processes used an ice slush dip to cool cooked crabs. Except for a single crab sample, bacteria were not isolated from crab and core samples. Standard plate count, E. coli, and S. aureus in crab meat samples from the different processes were statistically the same. Bacterial numbers in fresh picked crab meat samples exposed to an ambient temperature of 20 to 21.1°C for 1.5 and 3.5 h and stored at 1 C for 3 to 4 days and 7 to 8 days did not significantly differ (P < 0.05).

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