Safe Handling and Cooking of Shellfish

Shellfish is a nutritious food choice but it must be stored, handled and prepared properly to help prevent food poisoning. Children, pregnant women, seniors and people with compromised immune systems are particularly at risk and should avoid eating raw or undercooked shellfish.

Food safety tips:

  • Keep raw shellfish separate from other foods in your grocery cart and in your refrigerator to prevent cross-contamination of your food.
  • Refrigerate shellfish as soon as possible after you buy it. Keep it cold (below 4°C) until you are ready to cook it.
  • Check the packaging on frozen shellfish before you buy it to make sure that it isn’t torn or open and that there isn’t a lot of frost on the package. If there is a lot of frost, it may mean it has been frozen for a long time or that it was thawed and refrozen.
  • Never defrost shellfish at room temperature! Thaw it in the refrigerator or in cold water. Cook shellfish right after you thaw it.
  • Wash your hands before and after handling raw shellfish.
  • Do not use the same plate or utensils for raw and cooked shellfish, and wash counters and utensils with soap and warm water after preparation
  • Cook shellfish to a safe internal temperature. See the cooking section of the “Shellfish Food Safety” web page for more information.

Source Healthy Canadians