Seafood Safety Overview – Understand potential risks and ways to reduce seafood safety problems

Seafood safety overview – Seafood is the kind of food that has a potential risk of bacterial contamination, toxins and chemical contamination. According to Seafood Safety Most of the current health risks associated with seafood safety come from the environment and it must be addressed with control. 

Seafood Safety Overview ( Understand the potensial risk )

The following are the seafood safety issues that we need to understand about the potential risks and how to minimize them:

Raw Seafood

All raw foods contain bacteria. The bacteria that cause putrefaction can breed if left for several hours at room temperature. These bacteria would cause food poisoning. Pathogenic bacteria are one of the main food safety concerns, especially in seafood. If we handle and cook seafood properly, it can minimize the risk of food poisoning. Bad handling can also lead to cross-contamination.

According to Seafood Health Fact, the following are the food safety tips for cooking raw seafood:

  1. Keep seafood in the refrigerator below 40 °F until ready to use.
  2. Separate cooked and raw seafood.
  3. Wash utensils before reuse to avoid cross contamination.
  4. Wash hands before and after handling raw or cooked food.
  5. Cook seafood thoroughly to an internal temperature of 145 ° F for at least 15 seconds.
  6. avoid withstand temperatures between 40-140 ° F.

Ready to Eat and Raw Seafood Products

Usually, raw seafood can be found in dishes such as sushi and sashimi. These products may contain harmful pathogens. Some people could be at high risk of complications from a congenital disease so they should avoid these products. Ensure that the product is not exposed to temperatures above 40 °F for a long period of time to prevent the pathogens from growing to levels that could cause disease. Before serving this type of seafood you should freeze the product before serving it. Then, how do you avoid the food safety risks of ready-to-eat seafood products?

Here are tips to reduce food safety risks in ready-to-eat / raw seafood products: 

  1. Buy products from reputable companies that have high quality and sanitary standards. 
  2. Avoid cross-contamination during storage, preparation and serving.
  3. Serve this product in a way that keeps it cool or limit the time it is exposed to room temperature.
  4. Consumers that aren’t allowed to consume fish raw or undercook are pregnant women, young children, elderlies, immuno compromised individuals, Individuals with decreased gastric acidity

Seafood Toxins

Toxin contained in the ocean can occur naturally in some seafood species and not easily destroyed when we cook it. For example, shellfish toxins that occur during algae bloom can cause gastrointestinal and / or neurological problems. Secondly, the finfish toxin can occur naturally or caused by improper handling. When mishandled properly some types of fish would produce histamine. This can cause an allergic reaction when we consume the fish.

The following tips can help to reduce the risk of toxins in some types of fish or shellfish.

  1. Buy fish / shellfish from reputable places and already have high quality and safety standards.
  2. Observe health warnings before eating fish or shellfish that you catch yourself.

Allergens

For some people, fish and crustaceans could cause allergic reactions. Currently there are standard requirements that apply to all foods that contain one of the allergens, namely, by properly labeling it in order to provide information on certain foods that could cause allergies. The purpose is to remind consumers. Some people are often only allergic to certain species of fish or shellfish and can safely eat other types of seafood. Fish and crustaceans, such as crab, shrimp, and lobster, are two of the eight foods that cause food allergies. A person that is allergic to this type of seafood should be careful and read the label on the product before consuming it in order to avoid food poisoning. So, allergen testing should also be done on this type of seafood. To find out the allergen content, it is necessary to test it in the food laboratory or consume seafood that is certified.

Environmental contaminants

Human-made pollutants such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and pesticides can contaminate fish or shellfish from freshwater, estuaries, and nearshore coastal waters rather than in open water. One of the environmental contaminants is Mercury. The mercury content exists due to the burning of fossil fuels. Bacteria in water will convert mercury into an organic form, namely methylmercury (MeHg). MeHg is the most toxic form of mercury. America has sets regulations for the consumption of seafood that is low in mercury. Mercury is also very dangerous for pregnant women. It is necessary to test it in the laboratory or to consume seafood that is certified with mercury free.