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Seafood Safety

Shopping, Storage and Preparation Tips

To avoid food-related illness, be smart and take advantage of the tips below & enjoy seafood at home!

When Shopping... OPEN
  • Shop for seafood last to keep it cold
  • Store on ice if you’ve got a long drive home
  • Packages should be cold and completely sealed
  • Purchase before/on the sell-by date on the package
  • Separate raw seafood from your other groceries
Fresh Fish Selection Tips OPEN
  • Fish should be firm & shiny and snap back when touched
  • The fish's eyes should be clear and bulge a bit
  • The gills should be bright pink/red
  • Scales should be shiny and fit closely to the skin
  • There should be no traces of discoloration or drying around the edges of steaks and fillets
Fresh Shellfish Selection Tips OPEN
  • Shells may be a little open but should close when touched, if they are alive. Discard them if they don’t respond.
  • Live crabs and lobster will show some movement
  • A light milky liquid surrounds freshly shucked oysters
  • Shrimp should have a fresh smell and be firm
  • Don’t store live shellfish in an airtight container. Instead cover the container with a clean, damp cloth to allow them to breathe
Storage OPEN
  • Prepackaged fish wrapping should be tight
  • Store frozen seafood in its original packaging
  • Avoid crowding in the refrigerator to let air move freely
  • No liquid should be in the bottom of seafood packages
  • There should be no frost or ice inside frozen packages
  • Store raw seafood in the refrigerator in a leak-proof container, in the bottom section or the meat storage compartment, as close to 32o F as you can
  • Frozen seafood should be thawed overnight in the refrigerator.
  • Refrigerated seafood should be used within two days
  • Live crabs and lobsters should be cooked the same day
  • Frozen seafood can keep up to 6 months in a typical freezer
  • Cooked seafood can be stored in the refrigerator no longer than 3 days, in a clean covered container
  • Never refreeze seafood that has thawed at room temperature
Quick Thaw Methods OPEN
  • Seafood may be thawed quickly by using these methods. Seal the seafood in a plastic bag and immerse it in cold water until the product is thawed but still icy and pliable.
  • You may also thaw frozen seafood by using the microwave if you are going to cook the seafood immediately. Microwave on “defrost” setting, stopping the defrost cycle when the fish is still icy but pliable.
Handling OPEN
  • Wash your hands well with hot, soapy water before and after working with raw seafood
  • Thaw frozen seafood in refrigerator overnight or run under cold water
  • Prepare defrosted seafood within 24 hours of thawing
  • Before you start cooking, rinse seafood under cold running water then pat dry
  • Wash counters, utensils, cutting boards and other surfaces with hot, soapy water after handling raw seafood
  • Do not re-use cloths or sponges used when working with raw seafood
Preparation OPEN
  • Marinate seafood in the refrigerator, never at room temperature
  • Toss the marinade after use and don’t use it on other foods unless they will be cooked
  • The 10 Minute Rule is 10 minutes per inch of thickness, so a 1-inch-thick fillet should be done in 10 minutes, no matter which cooking technique you use
    • Measure the fish at the thickest point
    • Turn the fish over half-way through
    • Add 5 minutes if the fish is cooked in foil or sauce
  • All fish is done when it becomes opaque and flakes easily at its thickest point
  • If fillets are rolled or stuffed, measure temperature at the thickest point to determine doneness
  • Double your cooking time if starting with unthawed, frozen fish
  • For raw fish for sushi, sashimi, or ceviche, freeze it at 0°F or lower for at least 24 hours (or buy previously frozen) to destroy potential parasites


Find new and true
techniques to help you prepare your dish whether you bake, broil or grill.



Learn how the 3 T's
can help you select the seafood that's right for your recipe.


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