6 On Your Side: Consumer Confidence, Safe & Sustainable Seafood

(ABC 6 News) – Seafood is high in protein, often low in saturated fat, and one of the best ways to get large amounts of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

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,” says Perkins.

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,” says Perkins.

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° Fahrenheit 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,” says Consumer Reports’ Althea Chang.

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.” says Perkins.

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, and Perkins says, “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.”

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

Another tip, 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, two-to-three months.