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Safety First

Posted on 8.10.2015

Seafood – they’re packed with health and nutritional benefits and you can prepare them in various ways, turning them into wholesome and flavoursome meals. Nevertheless, how you handle and prepare seafood is something that needs to be taken into consideration in order to protect yourself from food-borne illness or food poisoning. 

Here’s a guide on how to handle seafood safely in order to reduce the risk of foodborne illness. 

Buying Seafood

1. Since seafood is highly perishable, buy your seafood last, right before you’re heading home. 

2. Keep raw seafood away from other raw or cooked foods and vice versa to prevent cross-contamination.

3. Even if the fresh seafood that you’ve purchased is packed in shrink wrap, make sure to put them into plastic bags before placing them into the shopping trolley to avoid cross-contamination. 

Handling Seafood Properly

1. After handling seafood, make sure that your hands, work area and utensils are clean before handling other food items. 

2. The storage life of seafood depends on how well you handle it. After purchasing and cleaning your seafood, make sure to store it in the coldest section of the refrigerator at a temperature as close to -18°C. 

Fish

1. Fillets that are pre-packed should contain very little amount of liquid. Fish fillets stored in liquid can deteriorate quickly. 

2. After gutting and cleaning your fish, wash it under cold, running water and pat it dry with a paper towel. Store it in an air-tight container or plastic freezer bags until it’s ready to be cooked. 

3. The shelf life of fish depends on the variety and its quality at the time of purchase. In general, you should use fish quickly—within one to two days.

Shellfish, Squid & Prawns

1. The meat from oysters, clams and mussels should be fleshy and covered in its natural juices, the liquid that keeps it alive once it’s out of the water. The liquid should be clear not cloudy. 

2. Live shellfish such as oysters and mussels should be placed in a shallow dish covered with a damp cloth. Never place live shellfish in water or airtight containers because they will suffocate and die. 

3. Make sure to scrub live shellfish before cooking or removing them from their shells.

4. Oysters in the shell can be consumed from seven to 10 days while mussels and clams in the shell should be consumed within two to three days. If the shells are open, tap them and they will close if they’re alive. If they do not shut, discard them.

5. Seafood such as squid and clams that have been removed from their shell have a shelf life of one to two days. 

6. Shrimp and scallops can stay fresh for about two to three days. 

7. Fresh oyster flesh has a shelf life of up to five to seven days if properly stored in the freezer. 

8. Live crabs are best prepared on the same day they’re purchased. 

Last But Not Least

Buy good quality products and take into consideration the way the fish is packed and sold at the supermarket. 

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