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Issue 42 : July 2013  

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"La Escuelita" at Tropack

Have you ever wondered what it's like to master the art of trimming and filleting?
Everyday, workers at our processing plants work vigorously to process and pack the fresh fish that you receive every day.

In order to meet our tilapia demand while maintaining quality and consistency; the Tropical Packing group in Ecuador established "La Escuelita" [The Little School] in 2009, a training academy for tilapia processing.

"La Escuelita" was created with a focus "to motivate our plant workers to master filleting and trimming techniques by providing them with a place for skill practice and improvement", said Shirley Santos, Administrative Manager at the academy. Students at "La Escuelita" are instructed on how to perform key and specialized techniques on the production floor.

The program consists of a two-month training period and can accommodate up to 20 students per class. Both, internal workers and external candidates can apply to "La Escuelita". Upon successful completion of the program, graduates have the opportunity to earn a better income when working on the tilapia-processing floor.

The program is composed of 4 stages:
  1. Selection Process
  2. Training on Basic Techniques and Concepts
  3. Perfecting the Technique
  4. Final Grading and Graduation
Once admitted into "La Escuelita", hands-on training on basic techniques and concepts begins. Students are assigned a working station where they are instructed step by step on filleting and trimming techniques of various product specifications. Read More.
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We have a correction to June's section of Fun Facts.

Q: Why do crustaceans change color when cooked?
Our friends at the New England Aquarium explain about crustacean coloring
Sibling lobsters. Left: fed diet w/ Astaxanthin; Right: fed diet deficient in Astaxanthin pigment.
A: Astaxanthin is a red carotenid and is the most abundant carotenoid pigment found in some crustaceans (i.e. shrimp, crab, lobster). When the Astaxanthin pigment moves into the shell, proteins grab onto the end and twist it, flattening it out. This shifts the color (called a bathochromic shift) from red to blue. In an outer layer of the shell, the protein-astaxanthin cross-bind again; further twisting the pigment and again changing its color from blue to yellow (a hypsochromic shift). 

So, in living crustaceans we look through yellow and blue to red coloring resulting in the muddy brown lobster color (blue crabs have more pigment in the blue phase, European lobsters that are green have lots of yellow and blue). When they are cooked, the proteins denature, release the pigments and they revert to their red color.  

Source: Michael Tlusty, Ph.D., Director of Research, New England Aquarium

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Salmon Pineapple Kabobs  
Think Juicy Grilling!
The pineapple in this recipe will add a sweet and succulent touch to every nutritious salmon bite! Click here for the recipe.
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Staff Notes

This month, we had a few birthday celebrations at the Tropical office!
Matt Busko, Logistics Coordinator, celebrated his birthday on the first of this month; Victoria Martinez, Sales Representative celebrated on July 4th and we'll end the month with Roberto Cabrera, Logistics Coordinator on July 29th - Feliz Cumpleaņos!
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