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Seafood Preparation

Guidelines for Preparing Seafood and Keeping it Clean


Good Seafood Handling Tips

  • Thaw frozen seafood in the refrigerator, under cold running water or in the microwave oven following the manufacturer's guidelines. Never thaw seafood on the counter at room temperature.
  • Allow one day to defrost frozen seafood in the refrigerator. If pressed for time, place the seafood in a resealable-plastic storage bag and immerse it in a pan of cold water in the refrigerator for one to two hours per pound of seafood. A similar technique is to put the original package in a plastic bag, place it in a pan and run cold water on it in the sink until thawed. If defrosting in the microwave follow manufacturer's directions and use immediately.
  • Always wash hands thoroughly with hot soapy water before and after handling raw seafood or other raw protein foods.
  • Unless thoroughly iced, don't leave seafood, raw or cooked, out of the refrigerator.
  • Before cooking, rinse seafood under cold water to remove surface bacteria.
  • Always marinate fish and shellfish in the refrigerator, never at room temperature. Discard the marinade after use.
  • Make sure that juices from raw seafood don't drip on to cooked foods; this leads to cross contamination.

For All Raw Food

  • Use separate utensils for sampling and stirring. Also use clean utensils and serving plates for cooked items.
  • Do not reuse a dish cloth or sponge used to clean up raw juices from fish or shellfish without washing it first. Replace sponges and clean towels and dish cloths frequently.
  • Wash counters, utensils, plates, cutting boards and other surfaces touched by raw seafood with hot, soapy water before using them for other foods. This will prevent cross-contamination.
  • If you are in doubt about a food product-throw it.