Seafood Safety
fresh seafood

Seafood Safety

While Colorado may not be located near the ocean, fresh seafood is readily available for purchase at several grocery stores and markets throughout the state.

As a consumer, it is important to follow these seafood safety tips to ensure that you will be serving the safest product at your dinner table.

Purchasing Seafood

  • When buying seafood, always buy from a reputable dealer. Ask to see certified product tags if you have any suspicions about the seafood.
  • “Fresh” refers to the fact that the seafood has not been frozen; make sure to check the freshness by smelling, looking at, and touching the product if you are able.
  • Be careful when purchasing raw shellfish—make sure they are alive! Oysters, clams, and mussels that are alive have tightly closed shells or will close their shells when tapped. Crabs, crayfish, and lobsters that are alive will move their legs.

Fresh seafood should always be maintained at 41º F or lower and feel cold to the touch, not cool.

Seafood Storage

  • All seafood should be stored in your refrigerator immediately after purchase at a temperature of 41º F or lower.
  • Fresh seafood should be stored in airtight containers or wrapped in “cling wrap.”
  • Do not store live shellfish in saltwater, as it will shorten their lifespan; do not store live shellfish in freshwater, as this will kill them.
  • Store Live shellfish, lobsters, and crabs in a well-ventilated container, covered with a damp cloth.
  • Keep frozen seafood frozen until you are ready to use it.
  • Refrigerate leftovers and use within 2-3 days.

Seafood Preparation

  • Always separate raw seafood and cooked seafood when cooking to avoid cross-contamination.
  • Wash, rinse, and sanitize all knives, cutting boards, and surfaces that have come in contact with raw seafood or shellfish.
  • Cook all seafood to an internal temperature of 145º F.

Mercury Contamination

Women and men of reproductive age, pregnant women, and children should follow the recommended fish consumption guidelines below to reduce their exposure to and risk of mercury contamination when eating seafood.

Learn More

Contact Us

Food Safety Program

Main: 303-441-1564
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