Choosing Fresh Fish
To be sure the safety of seafood is being properly preserved, only buy fish that is refrigerated or properly iced. Fish should be displayed on a thick bed of fresh ice that is not melting, and preferably in a case or under some type of cover.
Fish should smell fresh and mild, not fishy, sour, or ammonia-like.
- A fish's eyes should be clear and bulge a little (except for a few naturally cloudy-eyed fish types, such as walleye pike).
- Whole fish and filets should have firm, shiny flesh and bright red gills free from slime. Dull flesh could mean the fish is old. Note: Fish fillets that have been previously frozen may have lost some of their shine, but they are fine to eat.
- The flesh should spring back when pressed.
- Fish fillets should display no darkening or drying around the edges. They should have no green or yellowish discoloration, and should not appear dry or mushy in any areas.
Put seafood on ice or in the refrigerator or freezer soon after buying it, using these guidelines for safe storage:
- If seafood will be used within two days after purchase, store it in the refrigerator.
- If seafood won't be used within two days after purchase, wrap it tightly in moisture-proof freezer paper or foil to protect it from air leaks, and store it in the freezer.
Special Health Concerns
Keep in mind that some people are at greater risk for foodborne illness, and should not eat raw or partially cooked fish or shellfish. These susceptible groups include:
- Pregnant women
- Young children
- Older adults
- Persons whose immune systems are compromised
- Persons who have decreased stomach acidity
If you are unsure of your risk, ask your healthcare provider.