While consuming seafood is part of a healthy diet and provides abundant nutritional value, providing and consuming safe seafood is essential to avoid foodborne illness. If you are going to provide seafood, do it right!
Buy it right.
- Purchase all seafood from reputable sources. Under FDA rules, all seafood processors are required to operate under a Seafood HACCP program.
- Fish should not smell fishy, sour or ammonia-like. It should smell fresh and mild, like an ocean breeze.
- Eyes should be clear and bulge just a small amount.
- Flesh should be firm and spring back when pressed.
- Fillets should not have discoloration, darkening, or drying around the edges.
- Make sure to verify seafood upon receipt for temperature and safety before accepting it into your facility. Seafood should be cold. If the temperature is elevated, do not accept it.
- Seafood should be stored at 41°F or below, unless marked otherwise.
- If frozen, seafood should show no signs of prior thawing, such as ice crystals or pooling/refrozen liquid.
Store it right.
- Upon receipt, place seafood on ice, in the refrigerator, or freezer immediately.
- Seafood is highly perishable therefore storing it properly will increase shelf-life. The colder the better, but never above 41°F. Some species of fish, such as tuna and mackerel, will produce histamine (scrombrotoxin) if they are temperature abused. This can cause people to become ill.
- Do not cross-contaminate raw seafood with any ready-to-eat foods. Pay close attention to the placement of raw seafood in refrigerator.
- Generally, use fresh seafood within 2 days of purchase or freeze it. The fresher it is when purchased and the colder your storage is, the longer the shelf life will be.
Prepare it right.
- Make SURE hands are properly washed.
- Ensure all food equipment including knives, cutting boards, utensils, and countertops are properly cleaned and sanitized.
- Plan ahead and thaw properly.
- Keep an eye on the juices of the seafood. Do not cross-contaminate equipment in contact with raw seafood with that being used with ready-to-eat products.
- Although some seafood has visual indicators, such as flakiness or opaqueness, to determine doneness, seafood must be heated to 145°F internal temperature to be considered ‘cooked’.
- If fish is to be consumed raw, use only previously frozen fish. Some species of fish contain parasites and freezing will kill any parasites that may be present. Freezing does not kill all harmful organisms however, so provide a consumer advisory for those that may be immunocompromised.
Serve it right.
- Do not leave seafood (or other time/temperature control for safety foods) out of refrigeration for more than 2 hours. If the ambient temperature is above 90°F, no more than 1 hour.
- Keep cold seafood on ice.
- For platters of seafood, uses smaller platters and keep extra platters in the refrigerator until they are needed.