How to Properly Handle Fish to Avoid Illness


The Holidays Fish Feast

Many religions incorporate eating fish into their holiday traditions, whether it be Christmas Eve, Good Friday, Yom Kippur, and more. But fish has a limited shelf life and must be handled properly to prevent illness. Dr. Brian Nerrie, Cooperative Extension aquaculture specialist at Virginia State University offers these tips to keep you and your family safe when handling and preparing seafood.


·       Fish has a limited shelf life of less than 4 days.

·       Pick fish from a good source.

Thawing frozen fish since most fish varieties are frozen

·       Gradual method: Thaw fish in the refrigerator to keep it cold.

·       Rapidly: Place fish in a re-sealable plastic bag submerged in hot water for 5 minutes. The fish is ready when it bends easily.

·       Rapidly: Thaw in microwave using a low defrost mode until the fish is pliant but not dried out. Can be cooked immediately

 Temperature: Hold at less than 40 F


·       Wash your hands.

·       Use a sharp knife to limit slippage of the blade.

·       Clean surface with hot, soapy water.

·       Do not process fish in the same area and time with other food items.

·       Keep juices from raw fish from coming into contact with other foods.

Clean up:

·       Freeze waste and deposit in the trash on garbage collection day. Doing so prevents the fish smell from stinking up your garbage.

Erica Shambley