The sentience bill is coming and restaurants that use a lot of lobster and crab can get ahead of the game by installing a crustastun machine now in preparation. The machine uses technology that stuns shellfish in a humane way with no cruelty and even improves flavour.

Blue Seafood Company Director David Markham explains:Image title

“There is this issue going on around sentience and the population is behind it. And when anyone asks we explain that we use crustastun and it is compassionate. We’’ve done our part to make sure our -launched newly restaurant, Crab and Hammer dispatches crab in the most humane manner.

“We’ve very quickly started to adopt the crustastun technology, from a humane perspective mainly,. We use it in our larger crab business, Blue Seafood Company, and when we opened the Crab and Hammer it was a natural progression to use a smaller version in the kitchen.

“We’ve had comments from the likes of Raymond Blanc and The Waterside Inn how they can really notice the difference in the flavour of the crab.

“The first round of the sentience bill doesn’t actually cover crab but it’s in the post. It is coming. We saw that it made absolute sense to have it. We now cover the whole picture of boat to plate making sure that we look after every species we offer on our menu. “

“Having the Crustastun machine in the kitchen has made a real difference to the way we create our crab dishes here at Crab and Hammer. 

We source the finest Brixham crab from our parent company, Blue Seafood Company.  We have noticed a remarkable improvement in the eating quality of the crab meat owing to it being less stressed by the stunning method of dispatch, as opposed to alternative methods used in professional kitchens.

“It is fantastic for our waiters to be able to let the guests know that the crab has been killed humanely when they order it on the menu. Our young chefs are also more aware of the humanity of crustacean dispatch as a result of seeing and using the machine in our kitchen – a fantastic and very necessary piece of equipment.”

Having a device that can be promoted on a menu to demonstrate that live shellfish and crustacea have been humanely killed prior to cooking is proving to be a big draw for chefs.

The Crustastun is a way of stunning crabs and lobster before cooking that does not involve any inhumane killing methods such as plunging into boiling water or slicing in half while still alive. The method used is a simple pulse of electricity that does the job simply and effectively.

Gary Vowells, Head Chef at Crab and Hammer, Paignton had this to say after working with Crustastun and having the machine on loan for the past month:

Chef Gary Vowells and David Markham

Crustastun is a joint venture with Simon Buckhaven the inventor and Mitchell & Cooper.

Simon approached M&C whilst working with a German manufacturer to produce Crustastun but wanted to bring the unit to a well-established and respected UK partner.

Simon Buckhaven, remains the inventor to this day, however Mitchell & Cooper have reinvigorated the unit, optimised the design for manufacture and brought it to the forefront of the restaurant and seafood market. The appliance is unique and the result of 2 years extensive R&D at leading UK universities and other R&D establishments. It has the full backing of an extensive range of animal welfare organisations worldwide including the US, Canada, Australia, and many European countries. It also has the full backing of the scientific community.

Any live crustacean processors interested in finding out more about Crustastun should contact Guy Cooper from Mitchell & Cooper on 01825 765511 or email

Item No. 12749
£3,403.05 Choose Model