TABLE 6-1

CAVIAR QUALITY ASSESSMENT CHECKLIST

STURGEON

SALMONID

QUALITY INDEX

EVALUATION METHOD

HIGHEST GRADE'

GRADE NO. 1

GRADE NO. 2

PASTEURIZED*

GRADE NO. 1

GRADE NO. 2

PASTEURIZED*

Caviar origin and fish species

Label1 Quality certificates.

Beluga, Kaluga and Osetra

Beluga, Kaluga, Osetra and all other sturgeon species, e.g. (sevruga, shipp).

Pasteurization is often not mentioned on the label. Species not intermixed.

Chum, Chinook, Pink, Atlantic,. Trout, Coho.

All salmonids, egg sizes may be intermixed.

Chum, Chinook, Pink, Atlantic, Trout, Coho

Time-temperature history

Species not intermixed

Species may be intermixed.

Mixing species not acceptable

Colour

Visual, under standardized light condition.

Homogeneous co­lour. Beluga: light grey, grey, dark grey. Osetra: slight yellowish or brow­nish shades in a ba­sic grey-black hue. Beluga - white-grey and Osetra - goldish shades are rarities.

Homogeneous colour. Light grey, dark grey, black, yellowish, brow­nish, greenish

Any colour. Colour mixtures acceptable.

Any colour. Slight colour mixtures acceptable. Colour may be paler than non-pasteurized.

Homogeneous light orange, orange, reddish-orange, red. Typical for species. Shiny, slightly transparent.

Non homogeneous excepted. Orange, reddish orange, red. Typical for species but somewhat darker and duller.

Homogeneous. Colour may be paler than non-pasteurized and not as shiny.

Appearance

Visual, over a candling table.

Eggs round or slightly elongated, firm, elastic, easily separated, no broken eggs or residual tissue; reasonably moist and rotating inside a jar at room temperature.

Eggs round or elongated but slightly weak; some presence of residual tissue; moist or dry and hardly rotating inside a jar at room temperature.

Eggs weak and stick together in lumps; when sep­arated eggs may burst; excessive juices released on container bottom or excessive dryness. Considerable num­ber of burst eggs and membranes. Overdried eggs.

Eggs firmer than non-pasteurized eggs, easy to separate; presence of lumps and some juice acceptable.

Eggs round, firm elastic, slight shri­nkage acceptable, easily detachable, moist, only traces of residual tissue, minimal number of broken egg me­mbranes, excessi­ve juice on contai­ner bottom is not acceptable.

Slightly collapsed shape accepted, eggs are difficult to detach, some lumps, visible number of residual tissues and broken egg membranes, excessive juice or dryness acceptable.

Eggs softer than non pasteurized. Excessive juice is acceptable.

EggSize^

Line up eggs over a 10 cm ruler and measure.

All eggs of one size, either large or medium.

Eggs of any single size.

Egg size and mixture acceptable.

Eggs of any single size. All eggs of one size: large, medium or small, depending on salmonid species.
Odour Organoleptic, at room temperature. Typical for sturgeon, sweet and fresh; off-odours not acceptable. Weak typical sturgeon odour, no off-odours acceptable. Slight, sharp. sour, yeasty, stale off-odour acceptable. Typical for pasteurized sturgeon. Phenol odour. Typical for salmon, fresh, strong odour, weak or neutral odour acceptable. Slight sour, sharp yeasty, stale off-odour acceptable Typical for pasteurised caviar, bland or slight fishy off-odour.

Odour

Organoleptic, at room temperature.

Typical for sturgeon, sweet and fresh; off-odours not acceptable.

Weak typical sturgeon odour, no off-odours acceptable.

Slight, sharp. sour, yeasty, stale off-odour acceptable. Typical for pasteurized sturgeon. Phenol odour. Typical for salmon, fresh, strong odour, weak or neutral odour acceptable. Slight sour, sharp yeasty, stale off-odour acceptable. Typical for pasteurised caviar, bland or slight fishy off-odour.
        Offensive odours not acceptable      
Taste and Consistency Organoleptic multiple tasting of small portions at chilled temperatures Typical for sturgeon: yolky, delicate, grassy acceptable, rich and lasting. Egg membranes melt leaving a pleasant viscous liquid impression. Typical for sturgeon, some loss of yoltdness and richness; grassy but not muddy. Other non-offensive after-taste acceptable. Individual egg membranes are slightly recognizable. Some sharpness; grassy or muddy aftertaste acceptable. Slight bitter or sharp and sour aftertaste acceptable. Weak sturgeon flavour, not offensive, interfering flavours. Ovcrdried, recognizable dryness and total loss of the me­mbrane melting phenomenon; excessively watery taste. Typical for pasteurized caviar. Mild, modified yolky and pleasant flavour; egg membrane is tougher than for non-pasteurized caviars, slight chewiness acceptable. Typical for salmon, strong yolky taste. Slight bitter or sour aftertaste acceptable. Pink caviar sweetish, coho noticeable bitterness. Egg membranes hardly noticeable. When eggs burst honey like droplet forms. Typical salmon yolky taste. Sharp sourness, slight stinginess for all species. Sockeye noticeable bitterness. Egg membranes do not melt, sli­ght chewines­s. When eggs bur­st waxy chewy mass, or a wate­ry taste is noticeable. Typical for pasteurized salmon caviar but modified bland flavour. Slight sourness acceptable. Eggs watery or if over pasteurized eggs convert into an waxy mass, which is not acceptable.
Salinity4- % by weight. Any instru-mental method, see 4-6.
25-35
3.3-45
3.3-5.0
25-4.0
3.3-45
3.3-5.0
15-4

 

Comments:

1 The generic term 'sturgeon caviar' is used for all sturgeon fish species. Blue colour of lid or label is often wrongly attributed exclusively to Beluga. In fact it is used for Kaluga and may be used for best quality and larger size Osetr. Yellow colour is mainly used for osetr and larger size Sevruga. Red colour is mainly for smaller size Sevruga. The described label colour tradition does not apply to bulk packages in tins. Lately many packers in countries other than the Soviet Union are introducing other colours e.g. black and green which contributes to the confusion. The word 'malosol' means in Russian 'low salted". Low salinity is usually synonymous with high quality but the word is often misused and in fact is only a marketing gimmick. The word 'fresh' would mean non-pasteurized.

2 In principal pasteurized caviar can be made from all listed grades, if the roe is fresh. Pasteurized caviar is not graded further and constitutes a grade by itself.

3 Elongated sturgeon eggs are lined up along the larger axis. Large eggs are 3 mm and over, medium 2.5 to 3 mm and small eggs less than 25 mm. Salmon eggs: large eggs over 4 mm, medium 3 to 4 mm, small eggs less than 3 mm.

4 According to Soviet Union standards caviar with saltiness less than 35% is processed only on special order. Low salted, highest grade, non-pasteurized caviar is processed only on special order.