With Easter upon us, it is well worth considering what should be done to ensure that there is no food poisoning to add to the issues associated with needing to stay home this year.
The following is from the Food Safety Information Council website.
Seafood, especially shellfish, has had bad food safety press in the past. However, Australia has a well-deserved reputation for high quality and safe seafood and commercially produced seafood sold in Australia must adhere to strict quality controls.
Do not consume shellfish you have harvested yourself unless you know the water it is grown in is safe. For example, not near sewage outlets or septic systems runoff. Check with the State or Territory authorities for banned fishing or shellfish harvesting areas or fishing seasons. If you catch your own fish ensure you consume it or refrigerate it as soon as possible. If you’ve been lucky enough to catch more than you can eat in a day or two, or have caught large fish, gut or fillet them and place in the freezer. These can then be defrosted and cooked later as needed. Fish fillets can be cooked to around 69°C or when flesh flakes easily.
If seafood is cooked most common food poisoning bacteria and viruses will be killed; however, cooking won’t remove all toxins and chemical pollutants in shellfish and fish. To avoid these risks, seafood should only be harvested from safe waters, chilled and stored correctly and purchased from licensed suppliers. There are additional risks if the seafood is consumed raw, for example raw oysters and raw fish used for sashimi. Precooked prawns, bugs or crabs can be contaminated by your hands when they are peeled or shelled. You will need to be particularly careful and hygienic in preparing these and don’t handle pre-cooked food if you have exposed infections on your hands or have gastro. Raw seafood including oysters aren’t recommended for people at risk like pregnant women, people with reduced immune systems, the elderly or young children.
Here are 6 tips to reduce your risk of food poisoning from seafood you purchase to help keep it safe:
- Only purchase your seafood from a registered seafood supplier and check it is visibly fresh and is displayed chilled
- Transport your seafood home from the retailer in a cooler with enough ice blocks or ice to keep it chilled
- Once home put seafood in the fridge in a covered container and make sure your fridge is running at 5°C or below. Live shellfish, such as oysters, should be kept on ice and consumed as soon as possible after shucking.
- If the seafood is going to be cooked this will kill most bacteria but there could be a slight risk if it is consumed raw, for example raw oysters, sushi, sashimi. You will need to be particularly careful and hygienic in preparing these raw foods and also handling pre-cooked seafood such as cooked prawns.
- Seafood eaten raw or cold cooked prawns are not recommended for pregnant women, people with reduced immune systems or the elderly because of the risk of Listeria.
- Consume prawns and live shellfish as soon as possible after purchase when they are at their best and use other refrigerated seafood within 2 to 3 days.
The website also gives information about toxins and other issues which can be associated with seafood – https://foodsafety.asn.au/seafood/?fbclid=IwAR07BFt5aUr3nyxsLX8j6-Kx_XLf9XzKViH78jVnYHrd_qD6EkTH4tZeKo0