Bad Fish: How to Know When Fish Has Gone Bad and When to Dispose of It - Cenza

Bad Fish: How to Know When Fish Has Gone Bad and When to Dispose of It

Every year, thousands of people get food poisoning related to fish. The reason, in part, is that too many people don't have the food training necessary to understand how to tell when fish has gone bad.

While it’s impossible to give an exact expiration date, there are ways to tell if your fish has gone bad and needs to go in the trash. In this guide, you’ll learn the key factors that cause fish to go bad, how you can tell your fish is rotten, and what to do with bad fish.

What Causes Fish to Go Bad?

Safe food handlers know that the number one reason fish goes bad is due to bacteria growth. Bacteria growth in all meats is impossible to stop. The bacteria are born from the animal itself and multiply as they decompose the meat.

Cooking the meat to the right temperature kills the smaller amount of bacteria living on unspoiled meat. However, cooking bad fish will not kill the many colonies of bacteria on it. Storing your meat in a refrigerator at 41F or lower or a freezer at 0F can help slow the spread of bacteria and keep your fish fresher longer.

What Are the Signs of Rotten Fish?

Like most foods, you can do a series of tests to determine the quality of your fish. The most obvious way to check if your fish has gone off is to inspect it.

Another good rule of thumb is knowing how long fish typically lasts in the refrigerator and freezer. Generally, fresh fish should be consumed within two days in the fridge. But, it can last up to 9 months in the freezer.

The best way to determine if fish has gone bad is to smell it. If the fish smells sour or spoiled, throw it out. If the fish has a mild ocean smell, it’s likely safe to eat—but if you aren’t certain, there are other signs you can look for.

For example, it's bad fish if it appears or feels slimy and/or has a dull color. You can tell your salmon is bad when the slime starts turning it a milky-white color or when the white lines in its flesh turn grey.

What Should I Do With Bad Fish?

Don't try to cook, eat, or serve it. Remove the bad fish from storage then wash and sanitize anything it touched to prevent cross-contamination. If other meat or fresh food in your refrigerator comes in contact with the bad fish, you must also remove them.

Then, dispose of the contaminated foods as soon as possible. You can put your bad fish in a plastic bag and dispose of it in your trash can.

Take the trash out immediately and seal the lid to avoid bad smells, bugs, and other critters.

Get Proper Food Safety Training

Don't take risks with bad fish. Whether you're new to the foodservice industry or need a refresher, proper food safety training is key. Learn how to safely handle and serve food from the experts at Paster Training.

Our food safety courses are available to all levels of food workers, and our expert trainers will make sure you get the best education, guaranteed. Contact us today to get started!

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