Consumer Reports

Tips for safe and sustainable seafood

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Seafood is high in protein and offers some great health benefits, but seafood can quickly spoil and some raw varieties carry health concerns. To balance it all out, Consumer Reports has advice to help you get the benefits while reducing the risks.

Finding truly fresh seafood can be a challenge.

Seafood supplier, Chris Perkins also known as the "417 Fish Guy," is up to the task.

"I got into the seafood industry … mainly to support my habit of eating seafood. Just the taste of it. Real clean. Makes me feel better when I eat seafood," Perkins said.

For more than twenty years, he has provided the "dock to door" service.

"We deal with suppliers in Hawaii, Canada and Alaska… and the east coast. Those products are shipped to us overnight. Logistics nowadays is amazing. We have refrigerated vans and boxed trucks that we transport goods in," Perkins said.

Seafood is more perishable than meat or poultry. So, you need to take extra precautions to reel in this great source of protein.

"Cooking seafood to 145° F kills most germs that could be in the food, but when the food is eaten raw, especially when it wasn't previously frozen, pathogens can be present and make you sick," Althea Chang of Consumer Reports said.

For fin fish, the issue is mostly parasites such as roundworms, tapeworms, and intestinal flukes. These parasites can work their way into your intestinal wall and cause nausea, diarrhea, or abdominal pain. Just another reason to closely examine the catch of the day.

"You want to look at the eyes. Make sure they're not overly cloudy. Look at the gills. Make sure they're flesh-like. Like they still have blood in them. Not gray or dark. This guy is beautiful," Perkins said

The American Heart Association recommends you eat at least two 3-ounce servings of non-fried fish per week.

For raw shellfish, check for freshness. Bagged shellfish should have a tag indicating when it was harvested. If shellfish isn't bagged, the store or the supplier should have that information. Stick with those harvested no more than about a week earlier.

And don't forget about food safety when you're shopping. Keep seafood separated in your shopping cart and bags.

"I do recommend having a freezer bag with you. Gel packs or ice in a Ziplock pack. That's how you transport your product from the store to your home," Perkins said.

Place it in the coldest part of your fridge and enjoy it as soon as you can.

Freeze raw seafood you won't use within one to two days. Lean fish keeps for six to eight months in the freezer; fatty fish such as salmon, for two to three months.

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