Seafood is delicious, but improper handling of raw fish can create health hazards in the
kitchen. Follow these guidelines to safeguard your family's health.
- Never thaw seafood on the counter at room temperature.
- Thaw frozen seafood in the refrigerator, under cold running water, or in the microwave oven
following the manufacturer's guidelines.
- Allow one day to defrost frozen seafood in the refrigerator. If pressed for time, place the
seafood in a re-sealable, plastic storage bag and immerse it in a pan of cold water in the
refrigerator for one to two hours per pound of seafood.
- 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 onto cooked foods; this leads to
- Use separate utensils for sampling and stirring. Also use clean utensils and serving plates
for cooked items.
- Don't reuse a dishcloth or sponge used to clean up raw juices from fish or shellfish
without washing it first. Replace sponges, 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
If you're in doubt about a food product, throw it out.