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Light and Meat
Shellfish and Crustacean Displays in Seafood Department Showcases

The color of seafood displays is important to eye appeal. Cooked crab, shrimp and lobster should appear bright red but under some retail fluorescent lighting they can appear brownish. Supermarket fluorescent lighting tends to be strong in the green and yellow areas of the visible spectrum, which distorts the natural color of crustaceans and shellfish, and makes ice beds look green or yellow.

Decomposition of Retail Seafood and Shellfish Displays

The heat and radiation emitted by seafood display case lighting can raise the temperature of lobster, shrimp, crab, and shellfish displays to unsafe levels. With prolonged exposure to heat and UV radiation from seafood merchandiser lighting, seafood decomposes and begins to smell fishy.

Even a slight rise in temperature above the ideal 29°F can cause bacteria to grow exponentially, and a two degree increase can make seafood dangerous. Pasteurized crabmeat can still lead to food poisoning if it is temperature abused.

Seafood display cases that are cooled only by icebeds are particularly susceptible to the heating effects of display case lighting radiation and tend to experience large temperature variations. In these ice bed display cases, the ambient temperature two inches above the ice can reach room temperature.

When oysters, clams, and mussels are stored at temperatures that are too warm, the shellfish open their shells, and do not stay as fresh.

Light and oxygen trigger lipid oxidation, a chemical reaction that turns fats rancid.

Seafood Dehydration and Drip Loss in Retail Displays

Heat and ultraviolet radiation dehydrate seafood displays, causing crustaceans and shellfish to shrink and weigh less than they should, directly affecting the retailers’ profit since seafood is generally sold by weight.

Moisture evaporates when exposed to heat and radiation, but seafood also becomes dehydrated as part of the decomposition process, which causes cells to lose their ability to retain water, resulting in drip loss as water oozes out of oysters, shrimp, and shellfish.

The amount of drip loss varies from species to species and may be double for one species versus another. In three days, cooked shrimp can lose 15% of their weight, and raw shrimp loses even more.

Dehydration and water loss can kill shellfish, and affects the appearance and taste of other seafood.

PROMOLUX Lights Keep Seafood Displays Fresh

Seafood Case LightingCompared to other fluorescent and LED lighting, PROMOLUX lights were developed especially for fresh food and perishable food displays including seafood counters.

PROMOLUX lights work to successfully filter over 86% of the UV B radiation and 52% of UV A radiation which compromises a foods chemical makeup and nutritional integrity.

Simply switching to PROMOLUX lamps and LEDs helps fish mongers and seafood markets save thousands of dollars every year in what would have been otherwise spoiled and discarded product.

Seafood departments experience the greatest shrinkage of all supermarket departments. Dehydration, drip loss, and bacterial growth are all accelerated by slight temperature increases. Rancidity is triggered by oxygen and light. <more...>

Seafood display lighting can raise the surface temperature of fish and seafood. In unrefrigerated display cases filled with ice, the temperature two inches above the ice has been measured at room temperature. <more...>

Fresh whole fish usually have silvery scales and red or pink gills. Most fluorescent lights distort these colors, and emit radiation that accelerates decomposition and dehydration. <more...>

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