Keep the fish delish this Easter and avoid illness

Thursday, 13th April, 2017

Aussies are hungry for seafood at Easter. Photo: James Brickwood

MORE seafood is sold in Australia at Easter than at any other time of the year and despite many people being worried about its safety, food experts say it is less likely to give you food poisoning that other high risk foods such as raw egg and poorly handled poultry or raw mince.

Research shows that 96 per cent of Aussies are worried that seafood will make them sick compared to 95 per cent for chicken, minced meat (90 per cent), raw eggs (83 per cent), pasteurised milk (71 per cent) and cooked rice (58 per cent).

However, Rachelle Williams from the Food Safety Information Council said that Australia had a well-deserved reputation for high quality and safe seafood.

“Commercially produced seafood in Australia and imported seafood must adhere to strict quality controls but we also need to keep it safe and good quality after purchase,” she said.

“Easter sees the greatest quantity of seafood sold in Australia so at this busy time consumers need to remember to transport their seafood home from the retailer in a cooler with an iceblock or ice. This will not only keep your seafood fresher, it will prevent the growth of bacteria that can make you sick.”

The Council has six tips to reduce the risk of food poisoning from seafood this Easter.

  • Only purchase your seafood from a registered seafood supplier and check it is visibly fresh and is displayed chilled
  • Transport your seafood home in a cooler with enough iceblocks or ice to keep it chilled
  • Once home put your seafood in the fridge in a covered container and make sure your fridge is running a 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 or sashimi. You will need to be particularly hygienic in preparing these raw foods and also handling pre-cooked seafood such as prawns
  • Seafood eaten raw or cold cooked prawns are not recommended for pregnant women, people with reduced immune systems of 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 two to three days 

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