June 19, 2018

National Seafood Month Food Safety Tips

October is National Seafood Month and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has compiled some food safety tips to help consumers makes smart choices and reduce the risk of food poisoning. They are as follows:

Buying Fresh Fish or Shrimp?

Seafood AssortmentIf something smells fishy, don’t buy it. Fish should be odorless or should have the clean smell of the ocean. It should not smell fishy, sour or like ammonia. Whole fish should have firm, shiny flesh; clear, slightly bulged eyes and red gills that are free of slime. Shrimp should also be odorless. Its flesh should be shiny and translucent. Don’t buy seafood that is not refrigerated or displayed on a bed of ice.

Buying Fresh Shellfish?

Look for labels or tags on sacks of live shellfish that have information such as the processor’s certification number, which means that the shellfish were harvested and processed in accordance with national shellfish safety controls. Don’t buy shellfish with cracked or broken shells. Make sure the fish smells like nothing or has a fresh clean smell. Try the “Tap Test.” If the clam, oyster, or mussel doesn’t close when you tap it, don’t buy it.  With live crabs and lobsters, check for leg movement.

Storing Seafood and Fish?

Put fish and seafood on ice,  in the refrigerator or in the freezer as soon after buying it as possible. If  you plan to use it within two days, store it in the refrigerator. If not, wrap it carefully with plastic wrap or foil and put it in the freezer.

Preparing Seafood?

Thaw frozen seafood in the refrigerator overnight, or for a quick thaw, seal it in a plastic bag and immerse it in cold water. Cook seafood to an internal temperature of 145ºF. Fish flesh should be opaque and separate easily with a fork. Shrimp and lobster flesh should be pearly and opaque. Scallop flesh should be opaque and firm. The shells of clams, mussels, and oysters should open during cooking. Throw out ones that don’t open.

Raw seafood that is s spoiled can have an ammonia odor which becomes stronger after cooking. If you smell an ammonia odor in raw or cooked seafood, don’t eat it.

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