FDA explains seafood safety - AmericaNowNews.com

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FDA explains seafood safety

Did you know that 80 to 90 percent of the seafood you eat comes from another country? And recent recalls and illness outbreaks are raising concerns about how safe it is to consume.

Over-fishing of America's coastal waters has led to a drastic decline in U.S. fish populations making us dependent on imported seafood from countries where food safety standards are less strict.

It's the job of the FDA to stop dangerous seafood before it reaches America's dinner tables.

More than anywhere, the FDA's battle is being waged at the port of Los Angeles, where 40 percent of foreign seafood enters the country - and that includes fish from Japan.

Since the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, the FDA has been closely monitoring pacific ocean-caught seafood for radiation contamination.

The FDA conducts both regular and surprise inspections. Seized fish is taken to its high-tech lab, where they can detect deadly organisms invisible to the eye.

They also test for Listeria, a particularly serious threat to pregnant women.

The FDA also tests seafood for mercury poisoning, which can cause severe neurological damage in humans, and for contamination by hundreds of toxic pesticides.

Detecting chemical and microbiological contaminants requires sophisticated lab equipment. But the most powerful weapon for detecting spoiled fish is actually the human nose!

In fact, the FDA employs professional "noses," known as organoleptic technicians.

The FDA is only able to test about two percent of our seafood. And that leads to the most important message they want to share, the battle against contaminated seafood can only be won with the help of the American public.

So the next time you're in the market for fresh fish, remember these FDA's safe-buying tips:

  • Only buy fish that is refrigerated or displayed on a thick bed of clean ice that's not melting. 
  • Fish should smell fresh and mild, not fishy, sour or ammonia-like.
  • A fish's eyes should be clear and bulge a little.
  • The flesh should spring back when pressed.
  • And with fish fillets, make sure there's no discoloration or drying around the edges.

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