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How can I buy fish and seafood safely?

Besides being a good protein source, most seafood are low in fat, especially saturated fat. Fatty fish offers potential health benefits from omega-3 fatty acids. With 50 to 100 varieties of fish commonly on the market, great taste and versatility are as close as the nearest grocery store.

Here are a few tips for selecting the best seafood:
  • At peak quality, whole finfish like tuna have a fresh ocean-breeze scent, not a fishy or ammonia-like smell. They're naturally firm to the touch, with stiff fins and scales that cling tightly to the skin. If wrapped, packaging should be tight and undamaged.
  • Crustaceans and some mollusks are sold live. In fact, unless frozen, canned or cooked, crabs, crayfish and lobsters should be alive when sold. If their shells are still on, clams, mussels and oysters must be sold alive too. However, scallops are removed from their shells at sea.
  • Frozen seafood should be solidly frozen, mild in odor and free of ice crystals and freezer burn. The package shouldn't be damaged or water-stained, and it should be stored below the frost line in the store's display freezer.
  • For safety, don't buy cooked seafood that's displayed alongside raw seafood, as bacteria from raw fish can contaminate cooked fish.
  • Choose smoked fish, such as salmon or trout that is bright, glossy and free of mold. It should be wrapped and kept away from raw fish.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.