Microbiological dangers and other risks
Vacuum-sealed fish requires proper storage
As a rule, fresh fish is microbiologically safe. The microbiological risks related to fish products can be reduced with good hand hygiene and short storage times.
- Be sure to strictly observe the “use by” labels and storage temperatures of fish products.
- Store fish products in cold temperature, preferably at 0…+3°C (32…37°F).
- Eat the products as soon as possible after opening the package.
- Do not use any fish products after the expiry of the “use by” date indicated on the package.
- Do not store vacuum-sealed fish products for a prolonged period of time because the refrigerator temperature is usually too high for storing them safely.
- Do not eat products that perceptibly are not of good quality.
Foodstuffs eaten without cooking involve a risk of listeria
Vacuum-sealed cold-smoked or cured fish products may contain the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes which may cause food poisoning and dangerous infections. The preparation process does not destroy these common environmental bacteria.
The Finnish Food Safety Authority Evira recommends that people who belong to the risk groups, such as the elderly and pregnant women, are well advised not to each cold-smoked and gravad fish products without cooking. Cooking destroys the listeria bacteria present in the foodstuffs.
Vacuum-sealed hot-smoked fish involves a risk of botulism
Vacuum-sealed smoked or cured fish products may also contain Clostridium botulinum bacteria which cause botulism. Hot-smoked fish, in particular, is a high-risk product. In Finland, this type of poisoning is rare. It is usually caused by a too high storage temperature and too long storage time. The toxin is destroyed when the food is heated to 85°C (185°F) for 5 minutes.