QUALITY EVALUATION OF PRODUCTS
The quality of fermented fi sh is assessed subjectively by visual and/or
organoleptic inspection. The main quality parameters are texture, colour,
odour and fragility.
Two main types of textural characteristics are usually identifi ed in
fermented/salted fi sh products: (1) Fermented fi sh intended to be used
as food fi sh is hard dried or semi-dried but fi rm. This is the main type
of fermented product found in many African countries (e.g., guedj, koobi ,
ewule ). Due to the fi rm texture it remains whole in the sauce after cooking.
(2) In Côte d'Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana and also in the Sudan, fermented
fi shery products with a soft texture are produced. These products are
commonly added to soups and sauces in small quantities as a condiment.
Fessiekh is used both as a food fi sh and condiment. It is either minced,
mashed before adding to the vegetable sauce or broken up completely
during cooking (Abdalla, 1989).
The colour of the product depends on the species of fi sh used as well
as the processing method. For whole products such as fessiekh , a silvery
appearance close to the fresh product is considered high quality (Essuman,
1992). Poorly fermented products tend to be greyish or dark. Long storage
and further drying darkens the product. Yeet , for instance, becomes dark
brown after weeks of exposure to the sun (Essuman, 1992).
The odour of fermented fi shery products varies from mild to very
pungent. Soft, semi-dry products usually have a strong smell but very dry
fermented fi shery products have a mild odour (Steinkraus, 1996).
When fermented fi sh is dried to very low moisture content, it tends to break
up during packaging and storage. Soft or semi-dry products become fl aky
especially if the raw fi sh is putrid or fermentation is unduly prolonged.
Momon e, for example, breaks up if poorly cured (Fellows and Hampton,
The shelf-life of fermented fi sh is an important quality characteristic. At
high moisture content or low salt levels, insects tend to lay eggs on the