Experiments were conducted to evaluate the microbiological quality and develop a quality index method (QIM) scheme for farmed pintado fish (Pseudoplatystoma corruscans), with estimation of shelf life. Microbiological analyses showed that two samples of pintado fish were unacceptable for human consumption due to the presence of Salmonella spp. The presence of Staphylococcus aureus in all six samples of pintado can be related with poor hygiene during handling, since S. aureus is a bacterium known to be carried by food handlers. A QIM scheme based on a total of 16 demerit points was developed. The QIM scheme proved to give a good description of the changes in whole fresh pintado during ice storage. The quality index (QI) evolved linearly with storage time in ice (R2 = 0.97). Results indicated that the shelf life of pintado fish (whole and gutted) stored in ice is about 13 days.
Key words: Quality index method, Pseudoplatystoma corruscans, freshwater fish, fish quality, shelf life, sensory analysis.
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