Seafood Safety for Travelers

If you’re traveling to coastal or tropical destinations, getting tantalized by a vast array of fresh seafood is inevitable. 

There’s no harm in indulging in sumptuous seafood, but you don’t want to get too excited about seafood too soon because there are several health and safety tips you can’t miss. 

Indulging in seafood is definitely a delightful experience for health and travel enthusiasts, but it is also critical to do so safely. 

If not, you’ll end up with allergies or a grumpy stomach that will undoubtedly put a dent in your trip. 

So, let’s dive straight into seafood safety tips for travelers!

Fresh Doesn’t Always Mean Safe

If you love seafood, you’ll love the idea of seafood hauled straight from the ocean onto your plate. But fresh doesn’t always equate to safe because improper handling can introduce harmful bacteria and toxins you don’t want to consume. 

Observe Market Carefully 

Make sure you look around the market and check if the place is clean and hygienic. Is the fish being sold kept in a freezing environment? Is the fish being sold whole or pre-cut? Is the fish sitting at room temperature? 

Fish or other varieties of seafood should be ideally stored in a freezing environment and mustn’t be kept at room temperature. Moreover, cut or diced fish can lead to spoilage or introduce bacteria that can be harmful for consumption. 

Scent Test 

Fresh fish or seafood will have a mild ocean aroma. If the fish has a very fishy odor, it’s a warning sign of spoilage. 

Eye & Gill Test

Fresh fish should have bright, clear eyes, not sunken or cloudy ones. Moreover, if the fish’s gills aren’t healthy red and are brown or gray, stay away!

Choosing The Right Dishes 

You should always stick to well-cooked seafood. This is because high temperatures help get rid of harmful bacteria or parasites that the seafood may be housing, ensuring you don’t suffer from food poisoning or an upset stomach.

Choose Steamed or Baked 

Baking and steaming don’t use too much oil and help keep the moisture locked in. 

If you’ve ever had flaky baked cod or steamed mussels, you know what we are talking about!

Grilling & Searing

Treating seafood at high temperatures while grilling and searing ensures any harmful bacteria or parasites are eliminated. 

For example, having grilled fish tacos or seared scallops with butter are great and safe options you would love to indulge in. 

Fried Seafood

As a travel and health enthusiast, you might be wary of the word ‘fried’, but occasional indulgence is fine. 

Just make sure to avoid undercooked and overly greasy options. You can look out for places that pan-fry seafood or use light tempura batter until the seafood turns magical brown. 

High-Risk Seafood 

There are many seafood dishes to choose from, but as a traveler, some high-risk dishes pose more risk than others. 

Raw Fish & Shellfish

You should be careful when going for ceviche, sushi, oysters, and sashimi. 

If you’re having these at the top-rated restaurants or are sure about the hygiene and safety standards maintained, then go ahead and indulge or steer away from these dishes. 

Marinated Dishes

There are some seafood dishes that the chef marinades using citrus or other acidic ingredients. If done improperly, it can leave some toxins or bacteria behind, leading to health issues when ingested. 

Stay away if you’re not sure about the process or don’t have enough trust in the restaurant or the chef to do it properly. 

Street Food

One of the best ways to take a sneak peek at the local culture is through local street food. However, always check the hygiene standards maintained, especially when it comes to seafood. 

Don’t eat something that has been sitting out for long periods, and only indulge in freshly cooked seafood!

Final Thoughts 

Seafood is definitely the highlight of any travel to coastal or tropical destinations, but don’t forget to prioritize safety over flavor. 

The safety tips above will ensure you can indulge in seafood on your travel with caution, safeguarding you from unwanted and avoidable health issues.