For as much business as Lusamerica Seafood does in the Bay Area it is surprisingly slim on automation.
Mechanical Salmon Deboner
Much of the processing is still done by hand. One of the exceptions is the mechanical deboner seen to the left processing Salmon. At one end of the line, cutters remove the Salmon heads leaving an "V" shape at the neck. The fish are then hand fed into the deboner. Think double-bladed band saw. The fish is sliced-dropping a filet on each side of the line as the center drops down to a third conveyor line that carries the center carcass to a flash freezer.Meanwhile cutters on each side of the conveyors line up the filets and give slight trimming
Salmon Carcasses Heading For The Blast Freezer
as the filets are run into the mechanical deboner that removes the majority of the bones. On the other side the filets undergo scrutiny, particularly around the collar for final hand-removal of the collar bones.
The center carcasses enter a small room (about the size of my first studio apartment). A spiral conveyer begins at the bottom of the blast freezer room and is slowly spiraled up towards the celing. Within an hour and a half
Frozen Salmon Carcass-Cicles Ready To Pack And Export To Asia
to two hours the carcasses are frozen solid in blocks, packed, and ready to ship for export to Asia.
Back at the filet line, processors pack the finished fillets in poly bags which are then weighed. Weight, origin, processing date, and shipping tags are created at this point. The tags follow the fish for the remainder of their trip to their final destination.
For the US Foodservice San Francisco seafood program the filets are packed in the poly bag, then in insulated foam boxes packed with gel packs rather than ice to protect the quality of the product. The labels are affixed to the outside of the box for easy identification and quality control.
One of the challenges we encounter in the seafood sales business is identifying the crossroads of “Yield and Price”. Jonathon had one of his 30 some year employees demonstrate the different trim yields of a salmon filet. Starting with a whole fish, he took us from an “A” Trim to an “E” Trim. If you had this man on staff I would recommend purchasing whole fish and letting him process them, otherwise take a look at our portion cut program.
Portion are all hand cut, weighed, and packaged for foodservice customers.
Marinated Portion Cuts Are Hand Packed For Foodservice Customers
We recieved a demonstration of various types of cuts, a block cut, bias cut, watched the marinated and portioned filets.
When not processing for the US Foodservice Fresh Seafood Program Jonathon has crews work evenings putting up orders for the retail grocery and retail seafood markets. While the majority of the processing is done by hand, Jonathon demonstrated their retail packaging machine that seals, weighs, prices, and labels the finished filets for various grocery stores.