Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Healthy Seafood Comes from Sustainable Fish

 

bluefin tuna catches since 1950 (Thunnus thynnus)

bluefin tuna catches since 1950 (Thunnus thynnus) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

From the 2 August 2012 article at Science News Daily

 

When ordering seafood, the options are many and so are some of the things you might consider in what you order. Is your fish healthy? Is it safe? Is it endangered? While there are many services and rankings offered to help you decide — there’s even an iPhone app — a group of researchers have found a simple rule of thumb applies.

“If the fish is sustainable, then it is likely to be healthy to eat too,” said Leah Gerber, an associate professor and senior sustainability scientist at Arizona State University…

..

“In general, larger longer-lived fish are more likely to have exposure to toxins due to the length of their lives and their place on the food chain,” Gerber explained. “So you might be best served to stay away from them — like Bluefin Tuna or Swordfish. Besides they already are over fished.”

Safer choices might be Alaskan Pollock, Atlantic Mackerel or Blue King Crab, said Gerber, a conservation biologist and sushi lover. In fact, the research grew out of her interest in knowing more about the fish she was eating and the choices she and her friends made when dining on fish…

 

 

 

 

August 6, 2012 Posted by | Nutrition | , , | Leave a comment

National Smart Seafood Guide 2011

 

 

section-image

 

 

From the Web site

 

We now include several invasive species in our Smart Seafood Guide! Invasive species are those that have been brought into an environment in which they are not native — either accidentally, or sometimes intentionally, to fix another problem. …

…We’ve analyzed over 100 different fish and shellfish to create the only guide assessing not only the human health and environmental impacts of eating certain seafood, but also the socio-economic impacts on coastal and fishing communities….

…Our guide recommends safer, more sustainable options based on your personal tastes and priorities…

 

August 10, 2011 Posted by | Nutrition | , | Leave a comment

Fish Hazards and Controls: More Than a Fish Story

Fish Hazards and Controls: More than a Fish Story - (JPG)
From the FDA Web page

The Hazards Guide is a roadmap for commercial fishermen and processors to follow to ensure that consumers don’t become ill from parasites, pathogens (bacteria, viruses, fungi), or natural toxins (poisonous substances produced by living organisms) in the seafood they eat.

In April 2011, FDA released the fourth edition of the Hazards Guide and posted on the FDA website an introductory video to the guide for the seafood industry.

The Hazards Guide gives fishermen and seafood processors the latest scientific information on contaminants that can be present in their products and where they need controls to eliminate them.

For example, research conducted by FDA gave the agency new insights on what was needed to control scombrotoxin in the processing of tuna and mahi-mahi. Scombrotoxin is one of the most common causes of fish-related “food poisoning” in the U.S….

Related Resources

June 8, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health, Public Health | , , , , | Leave a comment

Fresh Seafood Shouldn’t Smell Fishy, Food Science Expert Says

[Editor’s note: When I was living in Lubbock, TX it was a bit challenging to get fresh seafood. The Gulf of Mexico was a 10 hour drive away, and it seemed the locals were more into beef at that time. Luckily, an Asian grocery store trucked in fresh seafood twice a week from the Gulf….The fish was kept in styrofoam coolers under ice!…I did check the seafood, as described below…(including the close up sniff test!)and had some delicious meals!]

 

HealthDay news image

 

From a November 25, 2010 Health Day news item by Robert Preidt

THURSDAY, Nov. 25 (HealthDay News) — If seafood is on the menu this holiday, there are a number of ways you can ensure that it’s fresh and safe.

A faint sea odor is normal, but fresh seafood should not smell “fishy,” according to Kantha Shelke, an Institute of Food Technologists food science expert. Freshly cut fish, peeled crustaceans (shrimp, prawns, rock shrimp, lobster, soft shell crabs) and shucked mollusks (scallops, oysters, clams and mussels) should be moist, not slimy or dry around the edges.

Fresh fish should have clear, well-rounded eyes, not clouded, dry and sunken. The gills should be bright red, not darkened or slimy, and the fish should feel moist and springy instead of mushy, she added.

Fresh prawns, shrimp, lobster, soft shell crabs and rock shrimp should have a uniformly light-colored tail without any discoloration, Shelke said. Mollusks in the shell should be alive and hold tightly to their shells when handled and must come with either a “last sale date” or “date shucked.” When buying fresh oysters, look for a natural creamy color within a clear liquid.

It’s best to buy fresh seafood the day you’re going to eat it. If that isn’t possible, properly store it in the fridge or freezer until it is prepared and cooked. Shelke offered the following storage tips:

  • Fresh fish, shrimp, scallops, freshwater prawns, and lobster tails can be stored in tightly sealed storage bags or plastic containers and kept on ice in the refrigerator. Using this method, fresh scallops and crustacean tails will keep three to four days and fresh fish will keep five to seven days.
  • Scallops, crustacean tails and fish can be frozen in water and stored in a freezer for four to six months (0 degrees Fahrenheit or lower). To thaw, leave them in the refrigerator overnight or you can place them under cold, running tap water immediately before you cook them.
  • Live, hardshell mollusks can remain alive for a week to 10 days stored un-iced in the fridge, kept at 34 to 38 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Freshly shucked mollusks can keep for up to 10 days when packed in ice and stored in the refrigerator.
  • Fresh softshell crabs can be stored up to two days if wrapped in plastic and packed in ice in the fridge. They can keep for up to six months when wrapped in several layers of plastic and stored in a freezer (at 0 degrees Fahrenheit). It is important to thaw these overnight in the refrigerator only.

SOURCE: Institute of Food Technologists, news release, Oct. 27, 2010

 

 

 


November 27, 2010 Posted by | Consumer Health, Health News Items | , , | Leave a comment

NOAA and FDA announce chemical test for dispersant in Gulf seafood

All Samples Test Within Safety Threshold

From an October 29, 2010 US Food and Drug Administration news release

Building upon the extensive testing and protocols already in use by federal, state and local officials for the fishing waters of the Gulf, NOAA [US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration] and FDA have developed and are using a chemical test to detect dispersants used in the Deepwater Horizon-BP oil spill in fish, oysters, crab and shrimp. Trace amounts of the chemicals used in dispersants are common, and levels for safety have been previously set.
Experts trained in a rigorous sensory analysis process have been testing Gulf seafood for the presence of contaminants, and every seafood sample from reopened waters has passed sensory testing for contamination with oil and dispersant. Nonetheless, to ensure consumers have total confidence in the safety of seafood being harvested from the Gulf, NOAA and FDA have added this second test for dispersant when considering reopening Gulf waters to fishing.
Using this new, second test, in the Gulf scientists have tested 1,735 tissue samples including more than half of those collected to reopen Gulf of Mexico federal waters. Only a few showed trace amounts of dispersants residue (13 of the 1,735) and they were well below the safety threshold of 100 parts per million for finfish and 500 parts per million for shrimp, crabs and oysters. As such, they do not pose a threat to human health.
The new test detects dioctyl sodium sulfosuccinate, known as DOSS, a major component of the dispersants used in the Gulf. DOSS is also approved by FDA for use in various household products and over-the-counter medication at very low levels. The best scientific data to date indicates that DOSS does not build up in fish tissues.
“The rigorous testing we have done from the very beginning gives us confidence in the safety of seafood being brought to market from the Gulf,” said Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D., Under Secretary for Commerce and NOAA Administrator. “This test adds another layer of information, reinforcing our findings to date that seafood from the Gulf remains safe.”
“This new test should help strengthen consumer confidence in Gulf seafood,” said Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D., Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration. “The overwhelming majority of the seafood tested shows no detectable residue, and not one of the samples shows a residue level that would be harmful for humans. There is no question Gulf seafood coming to market is safe from oil or dispersant residue.”
The 1,735 samples tested so far were collected from June to September and cover a wide area of the Gulf. The samples come from open areas in state and federal waters, and from fishermen who brought fish to the docks at the request of federal seafood analysts. The samples come from a range of species, including grouper, tuna, wahoo, swordfish, gray snapper, butterfish, red drum, croaker, and shrimp, crabs and oysters.
Previous research provided information about how finfish metabolize DOSS, and at FDA’s Dauphin Island, Alabama lab, scientists undertook further exposure experiments on fish, oysters and crab; similar experiments on shrimp were held at NOAA’s Galveston, Texas lab. These exposure studies further support that fish, crustaceans and shellfish quickly clear dispersant from their tissues, and provided samples with known concentrations for use as standards for validating the methodology. Samples undergoing chemical analysis are always accompanied by standards with known concentrations of DOSS, to verify the equipment continues to measure the compound accurately.
Nearly 9,444 square miles, or about 4 percent of the federal waters in the Gulf are still closed to commercial and recreational fishing.

For more information:

 

November 2, 2010 Posted by | Health News Items, Public Health | , , | Leave a comment

   

%d bloggers like this: