Is This Fish Really Fresh?

We’ve all been there. You’re in the mood for fish. And not from a restaurant. Tonight, we’re going to cook it at home! So, we venture out to their local supermarket or fish market in search of a fresh catch. But once there, while gazing at the wide variety of fish laid out and waiting there on ice, you wonder, “How do I tell if it’s fresh?”

Because nobody likes a stinky fish.

But before we get into how to help your customers tell if a fish is “just not right,” let’s review some of the reasons why seafood can be “just right” – namely because as it’s such a nutritious and delicious – and readily available – food.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), fish and shellfish contain high quality protein and other essential nutrients and are an important part of a healthful diet. In fact, a well-balanced diet that includes a variety of fish and shellfish can contribute to heart health and even aid in the proper growth and development of children. And let’s face it: When cooked the right way, it’s absolutely delectable.

So How Do Consumers Know if a Fish is Fresh?

Well, once again, let’s rely on the government’s word on that. According to the FDA, there are many rules to follow. But for our sake, we’re going to reduce them to three. We’ve given them fun names so your customers can remember them easily. We suggest you have fun relaying these instructions:

  • Look Me in the Eye! A fish’s eyes should be clear and shiny.
  • What’s that Smell? Fish should smell mild, not sour or – as the saying goes, “fishy.”
  • Does this Feel Right? Fresh fish is firm. Soft fish is stinky (refer to Rule #1).
And What If They Ask about Shellfish?

We’re glad you asked! When it comes to choosing shrimp or crab, the FDA recommends you convey the following to your customers:

  • Tap it and see if it’s firm. Discard cracked or broken ones.
  • Is It Moving? Live crabs and lobsters still move, if only slightly.
  • Look for the Union Label: Look for tags on sacks or containers of live shellfish. These labels should contain specific information about the product, including the processor’s certification number. This means the shellfish were harvested and processed in accordance with national shellfish safety regulations.
Shipping Fish Freshly Takes Know-How

Transporting fresh or frozen fish and seafood requires a great deal of planning to ensure that not only the right equipment is used, but making sure your catch gets to its destination in top-quality shape.

The biggest factor, as you might guess with seafood or any perishable item, is time. It is important to have a thorough understanding of the time requirements for delivering the seafood to its destination. Having seafood spoiled, thawed out, or bruised upon arrival could potentially cost you money – and trust from your customers. While this does happen, it could be avoided by understanding the time requirements and proper preparation process.

On average, it will take a carrier approximately 10-24 hours to reach their destination. Therefore, having the correct materials used to package your seafood can provide the fish with enough protection and refrigeration to maintain a frozen environment during that time.

Making plans for this can be costly, and it would be important to discuss this with the location to which the fish will be transported. Try to outline how the fish caught on a daily basis will be cleaned, packaged, frozen, and transported. There are also quite a few fishing operations that offer cleaning and packaging services in addition to providing a container and.

Rules & Regulations for Perishable Shipments

It’s important to understand the regulations for transporting items such as fresh and frozen fish and seafood. According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), a shipment is perishable if its contents will deteriorate over a given period of time when exposed to harsh environmental conditions, such as humidity or extreme temperatures. So, fish and seafood would be subject to perishable goods regulations.

The Perishable Cargo Regulations (PCR) manual is a worldwide standard for the preparation, packaging and handling of items that are time-sensitive. This list also contains a comprehensive classification of many perishable goods, along with transportation regulations. Understanding and complying with FDA requirements for perishable shipments is imperative. Or you can rely on experts like the team at Prime Fresh Handling.

Prime Fresh Handling: Experts in Shipping Freshness

We use industry leading technology such as vacuum cooling, sorting, repackaging, barcoding, labeling, and temperature monitoring to guarantee consistent, safe, and fresh delivery of fish and a wide range of other perishable goods to their final destination.

“Keeping up with the demand for fresh fish involves an intricate and delicately balanced supply chain of workers, farmer, wholesalers, airlines, cargo ships, traders, florists and supermarkets,” says Cristina Moscoso, Prime Fresh Handling West Coast, adding, “Getting something as delicate as fresh fish from one continent to another without it turning bad is a daunting technological feat.”

Global Services 

Whether it’s a box, a pallet, or a companywide logistics operation, PFH is skilled in achieving safe on-time delivery of temperature-sensitive material and products between any point of origin and destination around the globe.

In fact, PFH is also known as a global leader in perishables transportation of fresh produce, cut flowers and plants, and vaccines. With state-of-the-art facilities in Europe, South American, and across North America, PFH leverages industry-leading technologies such as vacuum cooling, sorting, re-packing, bar coding, labeling, and temperature monitoring to guarantee a consistent, safe, and fresh delivery.

Contact Prime Fresh Handling

Cristina Moscoso, PFH-West Coast: 323-328-8650 or via email at Also visit

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Prime Fresh Handling clients depend on our international network of coordinated cargo and freight service specialists to operate shipping routes across the globe. Our experienced customer service representatives are available 24/7 to answer your calls and address any perishable shipping and logistics questions you may have promptly and courteously. We are here for you!

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