Heartland Catfish Company Eliminates Phosphate-Based Additive
Published 3:56 pm Wednesday, November 30, 2022
Itta Bena – Heartland Catfish Company announces its transition to phosphate-free solutions. Removing phosphates previously utilized in frozen products will reduce environmental impacts and increase Heartland Catfish products consumer accessibility while continuing to provide the highest-quality products consumers are confident in.
As the largest vertically integrated U.S. farm-raised catfish producer, Heartland Catfish is the industry’s first choice for Individually Quick Frozen (IQF) catfish. Heartland Catfish frozen products such as frozen fillets and frozen nuggets are injected before freezing with a solution that aids in water retention and increases the longevity of products quality.
Previously, Heartland Catfish used a solution of water, sodium tripolyphosphate, sodium hexametaphosphate, ascorbic acid and citric acid. The decision to move to a phosphate-free operation was two-fold. As consumers become more food focused and better educate themselves on what is in their food, replacing the additive was an easy decision. Consumers with kidney disease and those who seek healthy seafood options, now have a catfish option.
Secondly, due to use of this additive, phosphates were part of the processing waste stream. This waste stream flows into Heartland Catfish’s on-site wastewater treatment system and is eventually introduced into a lagoon system where treated water is discharged into a local river. While working with regulatory bodies, Heartland Catfish was alerted to elevated phosphorus in the discharge water from its lagoon system. Noting the potential for environmental impact, Heartland explored several options and determined that eliminating the phosphorus source was the best solution to minimize environmental impacts and maintain their commitment to sustainability without compromising the quality or shelf life of products.
“Our team at Heartland Catfish is committed to producing high-quality and sustainable products that are produced in an environmentally responsible manner. We made the decision to remove phosphates as an additive to prevent negative effects on the environment and while doing so made our products more accessible to those who experience adverse health effects with products containing added phosphates,” said Jonathan Mills, Heartland Catfish VP of Sales and Marketing.
Heartland Catfish Company has worked closely with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to help set the standard for the Food Safety and Inspection Service’s (FSIS) oversight of the catfish industry. This strong partnership has elevated Heartland Catfish Company’s Itta Bena, Mississippi facility as a showcase plant for USDA FSIS due to its reputation for quality control and assurance. Heartland Catfish Company is committed to producing the highest quality products and protecting consumer safety.