Food Safety

Seafood in Australia is very safe to eat and attributable to very few foodborne illness outbreaks due to strict regulations and testing. For most people seafood is safe if it is handled and stored correctly. However if you are pregnant or have a young family, it’s best to consume fish that contains low levels of mercury as fish with high levels of mercury can harm the brain development of babies and young children.

• Put seafood into the fridge or freezer as soon as you get home, don’t leave it in the car or on the kitchen bench
• Store prawns in an airtight container, or covered tightly with plastic wrap, away from other food in the coldest part of fridge and leave in the shell for as long as possible
• Opened oysters should be stored in the fridge below 5C

• Only buy seafood from reputable retailers. Seafood from unknown suppliers may not have been handled properly and could cause food poisoning
• Take a cooler bag or Esky to the store or fish markets. Ask the fishmonger if they could pack ice with the seafood (they are not obliged to supply ice)
• Purchase seafood with a fresh sea smell
• For whole fish, the gills should be bright pink-red and firm and the flesh should be bright, not dull
• For sushi, raw fish must be sashimi-grade, very fresh and of the highest quality
• For whole prawns, the heads should be firmly attached and the shell tight and shiny
• Opened oysters should look wet and smell of fresh sea
• For unopened oysters and mussels, shells must be closed or close when tapped
• Purchase seafood last

Preparation and eating
• Wash and dry hands thoroughly before and after handling raw fish and keep kitchen utensils and benches clean and dry
• Eat prawns within 3 days of purchase or freeze them for up to 3 months
• Eat opened oysters within 24 hours of purchase
• Don’t eat oysters that are dry or, sunken into the shell
• Don’t eat overly ‘fishy’ or off-smelling seafood
• Don’t eat raw fish, opened oysters opened mussels, prawns or other seafood if they’ve been out of the fridge for more than 2 hours