It can't be much fun being a lobster or a crab. First you have your claws clamped and then you have to sit around in a small tank of water until a chef or diner selects you for their evening meal.
And then there is the matter of death by boiling water or a pin through the head, which can take two minutes for a lobster or up to five minutes for a crab. The other method of drowning crustaceans over a period of six to eight hours causes considerable discomfort as they expand in their shells through the process of osmosis.
Cue the new Crustastun, a humane stunning system for lobsters, crabs and crayfish which renders the shellfish insensible in just 0.5 seconds and dead within 10 seconds. A lobster can be anaesthetised with just 1.0 amps while a crab requires 1.3 amps.
Many people think crustaceans can't feel pain but recent studies suggest otherwise and a number of countries are considering extending legislation that requires food animals to be killed humanely to shellfish.
Approved by the Craft Guild of Chefs and supplied by Brakes Catering Equipment, the Crustastun looks a little bit like a metal photocopier. The tank is filled with a weak salt solution, the animal is placed on a stainless steel tray, the lid is closed and the stun cycle activated.
An electrode sponge conforms to the shell and provides the current path from the top electrode and the sponge is kept moist by the wetter that discharges salt water every time the lid is opened. The tray is also sprung to provide even contact with the top electrode regardless of the size of the animal.
Developers of the Crustastun originally set out to find a humane way to kill crustaceans but anecdotal evidence shows that the flavour and texture of the flesh is also improved. Bonus.
What's more, caterers don't need to shell out a fortune for the reasonably priced Crustastun (£2.5k) and with low running costs they will undoubtedly claw back the profits...with a clear conscience to boot.
Sorry, Product Junkie can't resist cracking the odd joke...sorry.