Littleneck hard clams (Mercenaria mercenaria) harvested from New Jersey coastal waters in the United States were high-pressure processed (HPP) in their shells using a 10 L high-pressure processing unit. A response surface (RS) methodology approach was used to optimize the pressure and time parameters for microbial inactivation caused by the high-pressure application. The total surviving microbial load in the hard clams was enumerated after processing at each experimental condition. The results indicated that log reduction in total plate count (TPC) due to high-pressure processing of hard clams was primarily a function of pressure. Pressure of at least 480 MPa was needed to achieve 1-log reduction in TPC in hard clams harvested from special restricted waters. In a parallel study, a panel of 60 regular raw clams consumers tasted both raw and processed hard clams that were harvested from approved waters and HPP at 310 MPa for 3 min. The consumers showed equal preference for processed and raw hard clams. Two subgroups of hard clam consumers were revealed; 1 group preferred the plumpness of the HPP clam and the other group preferred aroma of the unprocessed clam. Thus, plumpness and aroma may influence consumer acceptance of HPP hard clams.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Food Science
- High pressure