In a whole-fish operation, fish are shipped to market, fresh or frozen, whole or with the head, guts, and/or gills removed.
In a filleting operation, fish are cut into skinless, and often boneless, portions called fillets. For smaller fish, this is often done mechanically and for larger fish, usually by hand. The fillets are then inspected for defects, sometimes frozen, and packaged for market.
In a roe operation, eggs are removed from fish (usually salmon but other species as well), washed, soaked in brine, and packaged fresh or frozen. There are many roe products with specific processes and ingredients.
Shrimp are cooked, shelled, washed, and inspected. They can then be packaged and shipped either fresh or frozen.
Crab is shipped either whole fresh, or cooked, butchered, and frozen.
In the surimi process, Alaskan pollock or Pacific whiting are sorted, gutted, and mechanically filleted and sometimes skinned. The fillets are then minced, washed, and screened to remove bones and impurities. Then sugars are added to protect proteins during storage. The resulting mixture, called surimi, is formed into 10-kilogram blocks, frozen in plate freezers, and shipped. The blocks of surimi are an intermediate product used in other processing plants to produce other seafood products. Surimi seafoods are one family of food products made from surimi. One common surimi seafood is known as “imitation crabmeat” in the U.S. and as “crab-flavored seafood” throughout the world. In this process, frozen blocks of surimi are thawed and mixed with salt, color, crab extract, and other ingredients. The solubilized protein paste is then sent through an extruder, cooked, cut and formed in various ways, vacuum packaged, pasteurized, water cooled, frozen, boxed, and shipped.
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