- Shelf-Stable »
- Frozen & Refrigerated »
Fish are delivered to canneries on ice, refrigerated or frozen. Quality evaluations are performed during unloading, which include monitoring the temperature and condition of the fish and collecting samples for chemical analysis. Fish found unacceptable are rejected.
Fish are either processed immediately or held iced, refrigerated or frozen until ready for canning.
Thawing, when required, is done under controlled conditions.
Sardines are placed into machines designed to mechanically remove the heads and entrails and, using suction, any remaining viscera. The fish are then flumed (conveyed in water) to the next processing step.
Empty cans are conveyed to filling tables after having been cleaned by being inverted and flushed with air jets and/or water sprays. Cans are then filled by hand with a prescribed number of sardines.
Filled cans are conveyed to an exhaust box where they pass through steam in order to heat the product, remove some of the natural liquid and better assure adequate can vacuum during sealing. Products to be labeled smoked are put through a light smoking process at this point.
Prescribed amounts of packing media and other ingredients, depending upon the pack style, are added to cans.
Heated cans are conveyed to sealing machines where lids are put in place and the cans hermetically sealed. Each can or lid is affixed with a permanent production code that identifies plant, product, date packed and other pertinent information. The integrity of the hermetic seal is evaluated at frequent intervals during processing to ensure product safety.
Sealed cans are retorted (cooked) under pressure utilizing process time and temperature schedules designed by processing experts to render the product commercially sterile. All aspects of thermal processing are strictly monitored and controlled.
Samples of each finished production code receive qualitative (e.g., color, odor, flavor, texture and cleaning) and quantitative evaluations prior to being released for labeling.
Product lots meeting finished product evaluation criteria are labeled and cased. Cased products are appropriately marked with information necessary to facilitate product tracing.
Cased products are shipped or staged in warehouses for later shipment.