What is the proper way to handle the crabmeat?

Proper handling by the manufacturer is the most critical factor to establishing good quality shelf life of pasteurized crabmeat. Shelf life is the storage time that a product has between the time of production and the time when it is no longer suitable for consumption. Processors must follow a stringent set of guidelines and record each step of production to create a product that will offer a maximum shelf life to home consumers, retailers, and food service facilities.

Storage temperature is a crucial factor in maintaining shelf life. Product that has undergone the pasteurization process and is stored between 32-35F will have a shelf life of up to one year. Buyers and users of large quantities of pasteurized crabmeat need to maintain cool rooms at 32-35F and rotate the inventory so that the older meat is used first. Limited short-duration rises in cool room temperature (though not more than one hour at a time), even as high as 40F, are not critical. However, long-term storage above 38F will shorten the projected shelf life of pasteurized crabmeat.

In addition to a shortened shelf life, long-term storage of pasteurized crabmeat may minutely change the flavor, color, and texture of the product. Users of pasteurized crabmeat should realize that these changes are more noticeable with longer-term storage and increase more rapidly with higher temperatures.