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Food hygiene requirements for the handling, storing and refrigerating of tuna – 457/2023

By July 10, 2023 No Comments

The Environmental Agency reminds anglers and catering establishments who offer tuna, of the necessary food hygiene requirements for the handling, storing and refrigerating of tuna in a proper manner.

Once the fish is offered for sale, it becomes a food product and as such, food hygiene and safety requirements apply. Catering establishments procuring such fish should therefore ensure that the following conditions are met to ensure the safety of the fish meat at all times.

  • The tuna must be processed in approved registered food premises. The cutting up of tuna at the quay side, on boats or vehicle exposes the food to the risk of contamination and is not permitted. Tuna which is cut and processed in this manner may result in Environmental Health Officers detaining and seizing the tuna and legal proceedings may be considered.
  • Portions must be wrapped in a suitable food grade material as soon as possible.
  • The product must be frozen to at least either:
  • –20°C for not less than 24 hours
  • –35°C for not less than 15 hours

Please be aware that the consumption of Scrombridae fish (which includes tuna, mackerel and other oily fish) can result in histamine (Scombrotoxin) food poisoning if the correct precautions are not taken during cutting and storage. High histamine levels cannot be detected by taste or smell so the product will not appear “off”. Cooking will stop the production of histamine but will not eliminate any toxins that are already present in the fish. This may lead to the consumer being affected by Scombroid food poisoning very soon after consumption. This is in addition to fish containing parasites which can be a concern for human health especially if the fish is to be eaten raw or undercooked. It is only good handling practices that ensure that a safe product is sold to consumers.