Cross Contamination of Seafood – How to Prevent Cross Contamination of Seafood

Cross contamination of seafood – Like other food products, seafood also contains bacteria and viruses that cause diseases. Microorganism that causes diseases can come from a variety of conditions including the environment, water contamination or cross contamination. There are many causes of contamination in seafood such as when shipping the food processing equipment, dismantling & ensemble food processing equipment.

How to process seafood is important in reducing the risk of poisoning, especially when consuming raw seafood. Apart from proper processing, cross-contamination of seafood can be prevented through good sanitation and good seafood handling as well. Improper handling of seafood products will certainly make it easy to cross-contaminate. You can read our latest article about type of cross contamination here, So, what causes the cross-contamination in seafood?

Cross Contamination of Seafood

There are so many poisoning cases that occur after consuming seafood. These cases usually occur due to improper handling of seafood and food cross-contamination. This poisoning can be prevented by processing the food properly. According to Hermawan, the food businesses which are generally managed by small & medium enterprises seem very far from the food hygiene principles. Most of the small & medium enterprises own inadequate food processing equipment hence it is very likely to cause food cross-contamination. Seafood is classified as a food that is prone to contamination because it has a long chain of food processing. Seafood must be stored in below zero freezer. Only by storing seafoods in freezer, the seafood would remain fresh, delicious, and nutrition. improper handling the seafood during fishing will cause cross contamination. According to Retina the following are the causes of cross-contamination in seafood:

  1. Contamination in the form of soil

    Contamination in the form of soil, sand, gravel & dust will disturb the sensory properties. It can also affect the color of the end product. In addition, soil is a place for various types of microbes to live. Any food is forbidden to have direct contact with soil as it would spoil the food/ seafood wholesomeness. Contamination in the form of soil can be included in the following fishing process:
    Catching Seafood
    Equipment and containers used to catch can be unclean and there would be dirt contaminating. Fish that are heavily contaminated with dirt should be washed thoroughly in clean water.
    Seafood Handling
    Seafood is handled at the sea and on the land. When handling the seafood at the sea, all equipment must be cleaned & free from dirt. The ices used for cooling fishes must be free from contamination as well. When the seafood arrives at the port, there are processes that could contaminate it such as during unloading it from vessels, pre-treatment before transportation. Seafood players must pay attention to the cleanliness of the storage, equipment, processing & environment.   
    Fish storage and processing
    Soil contamination can also happen during storage and processing. This is due to the dirty and dusty conditions of the buildings, equipment, and production environment.

    Employees through various mechanisms can be sources of soil contamination from their hands, feet, hair, shoes, clothes, gloves, etc. All employees before entering production area must wash their hands & feet thoroughly & wear clean apron, gloves, hair net etc.

  1. Microbiological

    Microbiology contamination could spoil seafood products. The unwholesome seafood could cause human health problems. It could happen during food storage or food processing stage.

  2. Chemical contamination

    Chemical contamination can’t be seen with naked eye, but it is very dangerous to consumers’ health if someone consume it. This chemical contamination can be in the form of heavy metals such as lead (Pb), copper (Cu), Arsenic (As) etc. 

How To Prevent ?

So, in order to prevent cross-contamination, it is necessary to maintain cleaned equipment, cleaned environment & clean employees. According to Citriobio, here are ways to prevent cross-contamination in seafood.

  • Always wear an apron and head covering 
  • Wash hands properly before handling seafood
  • Use sanitary gloves – a new pair each time
  • No use of jewelry during handling
  • No sneezing and coughing during handling
  • Do not work if sick

Handling the food/ seafood properly will extend the shelf life and improve the quality the seafood. Always pay attention to food handling and processing so that cross-contamination does not occur.

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