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Resource consumption assessment of Pangasius fillet products from Vietnamese aquaculture to European retailers.
10/04/15 03:31PM
Trang Nhu Thuy, Thomas Schaubroeck, Steven De Meester, Michiel Duyvejonck, Patrick Sorgeloos and others. Journal of Cleaner Production, 2015.

Abstract: Concerns have risen regarding the environmental sustainability of favourable aquaculture-based products, including Pangasius fillets in modified atmosphere packaging (MAP). This study, we examines issues stemming from resource consumption in a cradle-to-factory gate life cycle analysis of MAP Pangasius, which includes aquaculture, processing living fish to frozen fillets in Vietnam, oceanic transport and processing frozen fillets to MAP in Belgium (Europe). Analysis was performed at the process level using Exergy Flow Analysis (ExFA) and from a life cycle perspective through the Cumulative Exergy Extraction from the Natural Environment (CEENE). The CEENE of MAP equals 669 GJ per tonne of dry matter (DM) of MAP Pangasius. Aquaculture, which is addressed in Huysveld et al. (2013), contains the largest share of the CEENE value (76%), and the three subsequent phases contribute 13%, 5% and 6%, respectively. Consequently, MAP production requires significant amounts of land (42%, primarily for the cultivation of crop-based feed ingredients), water (31%, primarily for pond water renewal) and fossil fuels (21%, primarily for energy demand in processing and transport). Regarding processing and transport, further attention should be paid to the consumption of electricity, water and packaging materials. Improvements should focus on lowering the fillet weight gain due to glazing and/or soaking and on the use and disposal of packaging materials, particularly those used to ship the frozen fillets. Recycling in Belgium reduces 40 GJ per tonne of DM of MAP via replacement of virgin material. MAP Pangasius creates half the resource footprint compared to fresh chicken meat locally produced in Europe despite being imported from Vietnam; this is explained by the lower Feed Conversion Ratio of Pangasius and by the utilization of Pangasius by-products for animal feed in Vietnam, whereas chicken by-products are considered wastes and are incinerated in Europe. [sci].

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