Elimination of Bacterial Contamination
This process helps the bivalve to filter clean water, eliminating from its organism the potential remains of bacterial contamination, most likely acquired in its natural environment. Additionally, these facilities wash the clams and cockles of algae and sand. This filtering is essential for the product to pass all health controls and ensure the highest level of rigor.
In this regard, one should consider that almost all pathogenic microorganisms of human origin are present in the marine environment caused by urban wastewater discharges into the sea. Most of the host bacteria of the human digestive tract, such as Escherichia coli, are not pathogenic, although they can accompany other less innocuous bacteria. They are, therefore, an indicator of the presence of bacteria like Salmonella, which are more harmful, in the marine environment.
Classification of Production Areas
The production areas are classified microbiologically into three categories, A, B, and C, according to the concentration of E. coli per 100 grams, a fecal contamination indicator that aids in controlling the quality of the production areas and, consequently, of the mollusks growing in them. This indicator follows the conditions stipulated in Directive 2004/41/EC and complies with Regulation (EC) 853/2004/EC, Regulation (EU) 2017/625, and implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/627 regarding the water’s microbiological quality for mollusk and other marine invertebrate cultures.
In the case of the OPP89 shellfish culture farms, the location is in B-classified regions; therefore, to lessen bacterial contamination, they must go through purifying procedures, and afterward, the mollusk must present a level of E. coli lower than 230 and an absence of Salmonella to be sold on the market. If the B-classified bivalve does not undergo purification or relaying, it will require an authorized heat treatment to eliminate the pathogenic microorganisms, guaranteeing its suitability for human consumption.
They are then packaged in nets and stamped with the seal of the Carril Shellfish Grower OPP89, the first regional fishing organization. This seal guarantees the final consumer that the acquired product is of high quality and authentic Carril clams or cockles, cultivated with professionalism and care, making these mollusks unique and unattainable anywhere else in the world.
Once they have packaged and stamped the product, they place it on sale at the fish market, where, generally, the ultimate consumer prefers to buy it fresh. It is worth noting that the common cockle and the three types of clams—the pullet carpet shell, the grooved carpet shell, and the Japanese littleneck—can all be eaten fresh.
However, these bivalves also have various culinary applications that will enhance their exquisite flavor, thus, grilled or as an ingredient of a fideuà or rice dishes. In Galicia, a traditional star recipe for the consumption of clams is to cook them in Marinara style (a la marinera).
Only authorized vendors can purchase the products, such as canneries. Regarding canning, these products allow long-term consumption since they are vacuum-packed, keeping their nutritional properties. Canning is the most favored method for preserving cockles and clams, and the most common preparation is fresh.
The organization signed an agreement with the canning company «Friscos,» promoting the improvement of the products’ commercialization under the trademark Carril Clam of the Carril Shellfish Growers.