Three composite packaging materials; Paper-Polyethylene (PaPe,), Polyethylene-Paper (PePa) Polyethylene-Paper-Polyethylene (PePaPe) were developed for packaging of dried fish samples with Polyethylene used as control. Some engineering properties (thickness, water and oil absorption rates) were determined using standard methods. Smoked dried catfish were stored in the three composite packing materials and in polyethylene for six months. The composite materials’thicknesses ranged from 0.23 to 0.31 mm while that of control was 0.27 mm.
The water and oil absorption rates ranged from 1.73 to 10.00 g/cm2/min and 2.50 to 10.86 g/cm2/min respectively for the composite materials and 0.36 and 0.28 g/cm2/min respectively for the control.
The percentages protein of the fish stored ranged between 62.8% and 71.90%; while the moisture ranged between 8.80 and 10.50%. There was no significant decrease in protein composition (P<0.05) in all the samples although the control has the least value of 62.8% at the end of six months.
The fat content decreases with the storage period in all the packages except for sample stored in the control with almost constant value. Polyethylene-Paper-Polyethylene packages maintained better quality attributes of stored the general acceptance of the fish on the scale of nine for the composite materials ranged between 4.78 and 6.96 while that of control was 4.6. PePaPe performed better in resistance to moisture and oil migration. It also shows high protein retention and better sensory attributes. The packaging material maintained the quality attributes of stored catfish. It was effective in extending the shelf life of smoked fish.