Concern for animal welfare is making it likely there will soon be legislation on the killing of crustaceans for food service. Brakes Catering Equipment is offering this humane solution to one lucky Caterer reader.
Chefs are often faced with the dilemma of how best to kill lobsters for service. With growing consumer concern about animal welfare it's only natural that some feel guilty about killing living creatures like lobster and crab by drowning in fresh water, freezing, boiling or by putting a large chef's knife through the centre of its head, especially when recent national news reports state that crabs do feel pain. In contrast to mammals, little protection is given to the millions of crustaceans that are used in the fishing and food industries.
With the opinion and recommendations of the European Scientific Panel on Animal Health and Welfare (AHAW) that crustaceans are sentient animals being accepted by the European Food Safety Authority, a change in UK regulations could be on the cards according to Ellie Smith, marketing manager at Brakes Catering Equipment which supplies Crustastun, the world's first humane electro-stunning system designed to swiftly kill crustaceans without pain and distress. Electro-stunning has long been approved by the EU, animal welfare organisations and governments worldwide as a humane method of preparing animals for cooking.
Smith says: "A small lobster takes about three minutes to die in boiling water or half an hour to die when placed in cool water and brought to the boil. Chilling them in the freezer allows body fluids to freeze into crystals in the body and joints and is harmful to meat flavour and texture, as well as inhumane.
"With legislation changes currently being considered in Europe to stop crustaceans being cooked, placed in fresh water or butchered alive, the Crustastun conforms to the humane slaughter regulations currently applied to animals such as cows and sheep."
Buy It! has teamed up with Brakes Catering Equipment to offer readers the chance to win a Crustastun electronic crustacean stunner worth £2,500.
How To Enter
*One lucky reader who can answer the question below correctly will win this prize. All entries must be submitted by 15 July 2009. Entrants can send a postcard including their name, job title, company name and address and contact telephone number to Buy It!/Brakes Catering Equipment Crustastun Competition, Caterer and Hotelkeeper*, Quadrant House, The Quadrant, Sutton, Surrey SM2 5AS, or enter online by filling out the form below.
Which method of killing crustaceans is thought to be the most humane?
The winner will receive a Crustastun electro-stunning system for lobsters, crabs and crayfish. The machine is manufactured in restaurant-grade, easy-clean brushed stainless steel with a moulded upper electrode within the interior of the lid and several safety inter-locks incorporated.
Individual shellfish are placed on a sprung lower steel plate resting in a shallow bath of brine and the lid closed. Simply activated at the touch of a button, the unit is pre-set to deliver the required duration of electric current to produce instant anaesthesia and kill lobsters and crayfish within five seconds and crabs in ten, reducing stress and improving the meat quality in terms of texture and flavour.
For further information on the Crustastun call Brakes Catering Equipment on 0845 931 9494 or visit www.brake.co.uk