Fish and also shellfish save high high quality protein and other vital nutrients and also are an important part the a healthful diet. In fact, a well-balanced diet that contains a selection of fish and shellfish can contribute to heart health and aid in children’s ideal growth and also development.

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As v any kind of food the is crucial to handle seafood for sure to mitigate the risk of foodborne illness, often called “food poisoning.” Follow these safe dealing with tips because that buying, preparing, and also storing fish and also shellfish – and you and also your family can safely reap the well taste and an excellent nutrition that seafood.


Buy Right

Fresh Fish and Shrimp

Only purchase fish the is refrigerated or displayed on a thick bed the fresh ice cream (preferably in a instance or under some form of cover). Because the shade of a fish can be affected by several factors including diet, environment, treatment with a color fixative such as carbon monoxide or various other packaging processes, color alone is no an indicator of freshness. The adhering to tips can help you when making to buy decisions:

Fish have to smell fresh and mild, not fishy, sour, or ammonia-like.A fish’s eyes have to be clear and shiny.Whole fish should have firm flesh and also red gills through no odor. New fillets should have firm flesh and also red blood lines, or red flesh if new tuna. The flesh have to spring ago when pressed.Fish fillets should display screen no discoloration, darkening, or drying approximately the edges.Shrimp, scallop, and also lobster flesh must be clear through a pearl-like color and tiny or no odor.Some refrigerated seafood may have time/temperature indicators on your packaging, which display if the product has actually been stored in ~ the suitable temperature. Always check the signs when they are present and also only buy the seafood if the indicator mirrors that the product is for sure to eat.Fresh fish and fish fillets offered as “Previously Frozen” may not have all the qualities of fresh fish (e.g., shining eyes, certain flesh, red gills, flesh, or bloodlines), however, they must still odor fresh and mild, not fishy, sour, or rancid.

Selecting Shellfish

Follow these basic guidelines for safely choosing shellfish:

Look because that the label: Look because that tags ~ above sacks or containers the live shellfish (in the shell) and also labels top top containers or packages the shucked shellfish. This tags and also labels contain certain information around the product, including the processor’s certification number. This means that the shellfish were harvested and also processed in accordance with national shellfish security controls.Discard Cracked/Broken Ones: throw away clams, oysters, and mussels if your shells room cracked or broken.Do a “Tap Test”: Live clams, oysters, and also mussels will certainly close when the shell is tapped. If they nothing close once tapped, do not pick them.Check because that Leg Movement: Live crabs and lobsters should display some leg movement. Lock spoil quickly after death, so just live crabs and also lobsters must be selected and prepared.

Frozen Seafood

Frozen seafood have the right to spoil if the fish thaws throughout transport and is left at heat temperatures for too long prior to cooking.

Don’t buy frozen seafood if its package is open, torn, or crushed ~ above the edges.Avoid packages with signs of frost or ice cream crystals, which might mean the fish has been save on computer a long time or thawed and also refrozen.Avoid packages where the “frozen” fish flesh is not hard. The fish should not be bendable.

Store Properly

Put seafood on ice or in the refrigerator or freezer quickly after buying it. If seafood will be provided within 2 work after purchase, save it in a clean refrigerator in ~ a temperature of 40°F or below. Use a refrigerator thermometer come check! Otherwise, wrap that tightly in plastic, foil, or moisture-proof record and keep it in the freezer.

Separate because that Safety

When preparing fresh or s seafood, it’s important to protect against bacteria from raw seafood from spreading to ready-to-eat foods. Take it these procedures to stop cross-contamination:

When purchase unpackaged cook seafood, make sure it is physically be separated from life seafood. It have to be in its own display situation or be separated from raw product through dividers.Wash her hands because that at least 20 seconds with soap and also warm water after ~ handling any raw food.Wash cutting boards, dishes, utensils, and also counter tops v soap and also hot water between the ready of life foods, such as seafood, and the ready of cook or ready-to-eat foods.For included protection, kitchen sanitizers can be offered on cutting boards and counter tops after use. Or usage a systems of one tablespoon the unscented, fluid chlorine bleach per gallon the water.If you usage plastic or other non-porous cutting boards, operation them, together with plastic, metal, or ceramic utensils v the dishwasher after use.

Picnic Tips

A Clean Cooler Is Critical. Be sure to clean coolers with hot soapy water prior to packing cook seafood. Clean is especially important if the cooler to be previously offered to transport raw seafood. If the cooler has been provided to transport raw seafood, the is additionally a an excellent idea to sanitize the interior after cleaning utilizing a kitchen sanitizer. A clean cooler stays clear of harmful bacteria from the raw fish indigenous contaminating cooked seafood or various other foods.

Keep Chilled till Serving. lug picnic seafood in a cooler v cold package or ice. As soon as possible, put the cooler in the shade and also keep the lid closed as lot of the time as girlfriend can.

Prepare Safely


Thaw frozen seafood progressively by placing that in the frozen fridge overnight. If you have to thaw seafood quickly, one of two people seal that in a plastic bag and immerse it in cold water, or — if the food will certainly be cooked automatically thereafter — microwave the on the “defrost” setup and stop the defrost cycle when the fish is quiet icy but pliable.


Most seafood should be cooked to an internal temperature that 145°F. If girlfriend don’t have actually a food thermometer, there are other ways to recognize whether seafood is done.

Fish: The meat is clear and also separates quickly with a forkShrimp, Scallops, Crab, and Lobster: The flesh becomes firm and clearClams, Mussels, and also Oysters: The shells open during cooking — throw the end ones the don’t open

Uncooked spoiled seafood have the right to have sour, rancid, fishy, or ammonia odors. This odors come to be stronger ~ cooking. If you smell sour, rancid, or fishy odors in raw or cook seafood, do not eat it. If you smell either a fleeting or persistent ammonia odor in cooked seafood, perform not eat it.


Follow this serving guidelines when your seafood is cooked and also ready to be enjoyed.

Follow this serving guidelines once your seafood is cooked and ready to it is in enjoyed.

Never leave seafood or various other perishable food out of the frozen fridge for more than 2 hrs or for more than 1 hour when temperatures are over 90°F. Bacteria that can cause illness grow conveniently at warm temperatures (between 40°F and also 140°F).For party planning, keep warm seafood hot and cold seafood cold:Keep cold chill seafood refrigerated until time to serve.Serve cold seafood on ice cream if that is walking to stay out much longer than 2 hours.Keep warm seafood heated till time to serve or division the seafood right into smaller containers and also keep them in a refrigerator until time to reheat and serve.Serve warm seafood under a heat resource (e.g., warm lamp, crock pot, hot plate, etc.) if that is walk to continue to be out much longer than 2 hrs or discard the seafood after ~ 2 hours.

Eating life Seafood - What You need to Know

It"s constantly best to chef seafood extensively to minimize the risk of foodborne illness. However, if you pick to eat raw fish anyway, one dominance of ignorance is to eat fish that has actually been previously frozen.

Some varieties of fish have the right to contain parasites, and freezing will kill any kind of parasites that may be present.However, be aware that freezing doesn"t death all harmful germs. That"s why the safest route is to chef your seafood.

Special health and wellness Notes

At-Risk Groups

Some people are at better risk for foodborne illness, and are also an ext likely to have a lengthier illness, undergo hospitalization, or even die. These groups include:

Pregnant womenChildrenOlder adultsPersons v weakened immune systems (such together transplant patients and also individuals with HIV/AIDS, cancer, and diabetes)

These susceptible teams should protect against the complying with foods:

Raw or undercooked fish or shellfish, or food containing life or undercooked seafood (for example, sashimi) discovered in some sushi or ceviche.Raw oysters, even if they space treated ~ they have actually been harvested. Post-harvest treatment eliminates some naturally developing pathogens, but does not eliminate all pathogens the can cause illnessRefrigerated varieties of acting seafood other than in a cooking recipe, such as a casserole. Refrigerated exhilaration seafood (such together salmon, trout, whitefish, cod, tuna, or mackerel) is normally labeled together "nova-style," "lox," "kippered," "smoked," or "jerky." canned or shelf-stable smoked seafood is acceptable.

Important Advice for Pregnant and also Breastfeeding Women and Young Children

Fish and other protein-rich foodstuffs have nutrients that can help a child’s growth and also development. Due to the evidence of benefits from eating fish, ladies who are pregnant or breastfeeding have to consume at least 8 and up come 12 ounces per week the a selection of fish, from options that are reduced in methylmercury. In January 2017, and EPA issued last advice concerning fish consumption based on levels the methylmercury in fish. This advice is specifically for ladies who space pregnant, might become pregnant, or are breastfeeding, and also for young children.

Mercury is an aspect that occurs naturally in the environment and is also released to the environment through many types of person activity. It have the right to collect in streams, lakes, and also oceans and is turned into methylmercury in the water or sediment. That is this kind of mercury that is existing in fish. Methylmercury deserve to be harmful come the developing mind and concerned system. The greatest methylmercury level are discovered in large, long-lived fish, such as king mackerel, marlin, orange roughy, shark, swordfish, tilefish (from the Gulf the Mexico), and bigeye tuna. So, pregnant and also breastfeeding women, and young kids should protect against these 7 fish.

What is a serving? as a guide, usage the palm of your hand.



Goal: Pregnant and also breastfeeding women, and young youngsters should eat 2 come 3 servings of a range of fish every week native the “Best Choices” list or 1 offer a week indigenous the “Good Choices” list. If girlfriend eat fish recorded by family or friends, check for fish advisories. If over there is no advisory, eat just 1 serving and no various other fish the week.

Some fish recorded by family and also friends, such as larger carp, catfish, trout and also perch, are an ext likely to have fish advisories as result of mercury or other contaminants. State advisories will tell girlfriend how frequently you deserve to safely eat those fish.

You deserve to use this CHART to aid you choose which fish come eat, and how frequently to eat them, based on their mercury levels. The "Best Choices" have the lowest level of mercury.

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This advice refers to fish and also shellfish collectively as “fish.” For more information, see or

About Foodborne Illness

Know the Symptoms

Consuming dangerous foodborne bacteria will usually reason illness within 1 come 3 job of eat the contaminated food. However, sickness can likewise occur within 20 minute or up to 6 mainly later. Although most human being will recoup from a foodborne condition within a short time, part can develop chronic, severe, or even life-threatening wellness problems. Foodborne condition can occasionally be confused with various other illnesses that have comparable symptoms. The symptoms of foodborne disease can include:

Vomiting, diarrhea, and ab painFlu-like symptoms, such together fever, headache, and also body ache

Take Action

If you think the you or a household member has actually a foodborne illness, call your medical care provider immediately. Also, report the doubt foodborne disease to in one of two people of these ways:

Contact MedWatch,’s security Information and also Adverse event Reporting Program:

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