May 16, 2021

Consumer Groups Sue FDA Over Mercury in Seafood

Earthjustice, along with Center for Science in the Public Interest and the Mercury Policy Project, are suing the FDA for "failing to respond to a July 2011 petition in which the groups asked the FDA to give consumers clear, accurate, and accessible information about toxic mercury in the seafood they eat." At this time, the latest recommendations for pregnant women eating shellfish are to avoid certain species, and eat up to 12 ounces a week of other fish. Those recommendations were set in 2004. The lawsuit asks for a court-ordered deadline for the FDA to respond to its request that signs be required at seafood counters and on seafood labels to let consumers know how much mercury is in the fish they buy. The FDA had 180 days, three years ago, to respond to the petition, but did … [Read more...]

Skin Infections Reported From Handling Seafood in Chinatown

The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is reporting that people are getting skin infections from handling live or raw fish or seafood at certain markets in Chinatown. The rare infections are caused by the Mycobacterium marinum. The bacteria enters the skin through a cut or scrape, or if someone cuts themselves while handling the raw fish. The Health Department has identified 30 cases of this infection so far. All of the patients say they handled live or raw fish or seafood purchased at markets in Manhattan, Brooklyn, or Queens before the problem started. Symptoms of the infection include red, tender swelling under the skin of hands and arms, difficulty moving fingers, and pain in the hand or arm. To prevent these infections, wear waterproof gloves when you handle … [Read more...]

Food Safety Tips For National Seafood Month

October is National Seafood Month. Fish and seafood are a healthy part of a balanced diet and, as with all foods, proper handling and preparation are key to reducing the risk of food poisoning. Here are some tips from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Buying Fresh Fish Does something smell fishy? Don't buy it. Fish should not smell fishy, sour or like ammonia. Whole fish should have firm, shiny flesh; clear, slightly bulged eyes and red gills that are not slimy. Shrimp should also be odorless.  And shrimp  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. These tags have information such as the processor’s certification number, which … [Read more...]

Surface Steam Pasteurization Can Stop Listeria on Fish

New research published at Nofima, the food research institute in Norway, has found that Listeria can be eliminated on fish by treating the surface with 100 degrees C (212 degrees F) steam for a few seconds. Listeria is a problem in the seafood industry, especially smoked fish and fish pates that are eaten without reheating. Those chilled products with a longer shelf life are more vulnerable to the Listeria bacteria because it is omnipresent and can grow at temperatures below 40 degrees F. In addition, Listeria is the most heat resistant of non-spore forming pathogens. Short time, high temperature surface treatments target contamination without causing "unwanted thermal degradation." Since fish is so sensitive to heat, most treatments cook the fish and can make it tough and dry. In … [Read more...]

GoldCoast Salads Recall for Listeria Expands

GoldCoast Salads from Naples Florida is recalling more products that may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. The recall states "because of the potential for food borne illness, we urge consumers who have purchased the suspect products not to eat them, but to return them to the point of purchase." The recalled products are: Blue Crab Spread in 1 pound and 8 ounce containers with EXP 2/14/13 B, the Maine Lobster Spread in 1 pound and 8 ounce sizes with EXP 2/16/13 LA, the Lobster and Shrimp Spread in 1 pound and 8 ounce sizes with EXP 2/23/13 L&S1 and EXP 3/30/13 L&S1, and the Smoked Salmon Spread in 1 pound and 8 ounce containers with code 3/10/13 S2. The products were produced 12/17/12, 12/19/12, 12/26/12, 1/31/13, and 1/25/13 respectively and distributed to stores in … [Read more...]

FDA Offers Advice On Serving Seafood Safely

Serving seafood for your holiday gathering? The you may want to check out the tips on serving it safely from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration  (FDA). Fish and shellfish are good sources of protein and nutrients, but handled improperly, they can cause illness. The first step in seafood safety is selecting wisely. Here's what the FDA recommends: Selecting Fish Don't buy fish that isn't refrigerated or displayed on a thick bed of fresh ice. Don't buy fish that has a strong odor. Do look for fish with clear, slightly bulging eyes. Do select fillets that have firm, shiny flesh that springs back when pressed. Don't buy fish that have milky slime in their gills. Don't buy fillets that are discolored or drying around the edges.  Selecting Shellfish Do buy shrimp with … [Read more...]

Group Presses White House for Consumer Protections in Trade Negotiations

A bipartisan group including Congresswoman Rose DeLauro (D-CT), Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA), and Congressman Walter Jones (R-NC) asked the Obama Administration to ensure public health is protected as the Trans-Pacific Partnership Free Trade Agreement is negotiated. Two countries involved in this agreement, Vietnam and Malaysia, are seafood exporters and have raised red flags. The group is concerned that seafood imported from those two countries could be contaminated. The letter states, "in Fiscal Year 2012, imported seafood products from Vietnam, the fifth largest exporter of shrimp to the United States, were refused entry 206 times because of concerns including filth, decomposition, drug residues, unapproved food additives, and Salmonella... U.S. Customers and Border Protection … [Read more...]

Chefs: Something’s Fishy About Imported Seafood Traceability

Despite our growing demand for information about where the seafood we eat comes from, Americans seldom get answers when it comes to imported fish and seafood. That’s why a group of more than 500 chefs and restaurant owners are calling on government leaders to require that all seafood in U.S. markets can be traced. Improving traceability will prevent fraud and keep seafood, which is sometimes illegally mislabeled out of U.S. markets, the group says. “Recent studies have found that seafood may be mislabeled as often as 25 to 70 percent of the time for popular species like red snapper, wild salmon and Atlantic cod, disguising fish that are less desirable, cheaper or more readily available,” the group’s letter to government leaders says. “With about 1,700 different species of seafood from … [Read more...]

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