How to Tell if Fish Has Gone Bad

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How to know if tilapia is bad

How to tell if fish is bad – Fish keeps well in either a freezer or a refrigerator, and it may be kept in either before eating. However, the meat will ultimately rot, at which time it will be unsafe to cook with. To determine if fish has gone bad, consider the sell-by date printed on the box, the location of the fish, and the texture and smell of the fish. To avoid food illness, remove fish immediately it exhibits indications of spoilage.

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Reading the Sell-By Date

how to tell if fish is bad
How to tell if fish is bad

1. Refrigerated raw fish should be discarded two days after the sell-by date. Raw fish does not keep well in the refrigerator and goes bad quickly after the sell-by date. On the box, look for the sell-by date. If it’s been more than a day or two since that date, toss the fish out. [1][2]

  • If you want to extend the life of chilled fish, place it in the freezer.
  • If the fish bears a use-by date rather than a sell-by date, do not keep it after that date. “Use-by” denotes that if the fish is not consumed by the indicated date, it will begin to deteriorate.
how to tell if tilapia is bad
Cooked fish can be stored in the refrigerator for 5 to 6 days beyond the sell-by date.

2. Cooked fish can be stored in the refrigerator for 5 to 6 days beyond the sell-by date. If you buy cooked fish—or cook your own—and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator, it will last longer than raw fish. However, if you haven’t eaten the fish within 5 or 6 days of the sell-by date, it must be thrown. [3]

how to tell if fish is bad when cooked
Frozen fish can be stored for 6 to 9 months after the sell-by date.

3. Frozen fish can be stored for 6 to 9 months after the sell-by date. Frozen fish, whether raw or cooked, will keep far longer than refrigerated fish. Smoked salmon is the single exception to this rule. Even in a freezer, smoked salmon has a shelf life of 3 to 6 months. [4] You can always freeze your own salmon, irrespective if you bought it raw or cooked it. Wrap the salmon pieces in plastic wrap or place them in an airtight plastic bag to freeze. [5]

Inspecting the Fish

how to tell if fish is off
Examine the uncooked fish for a slimy covering.

1. Examine the uncooked fish for a slimy covering. As a fish matures and begins to deteriorate, its outer surface becomes moist and finally develops a thin film of slime. This is an indication that your fish has started to deteriorate. Once the fish has rotted completely, the slimy wetness on the flesh will feel thick and slick to the touch. [6] Throw away new fish as soon as you observe the start of this slimy texture.
Cooked fish will not acquire a slimy covering, even if it has begun to spoil.

how can you tell if frozen fish is bad?
Look for a strong fishy odor.

2. Look for a strong fishy odor. All fish, whether raw or cooked, smells like fish. However, refrigerated fish that has begun to spoil will emit an increasingly fishy odor. [7] Given enough time, this pungent fish odor will mutate into the putrid odor of rotting flesh. [8] As the fish spoils, the unpleasant fish scent becomes stronger and stronger. It is preferable to throw out fish as soon as it begins to smell “off.”

how to know if fish is bad
Look for a milky tint in the uncooked fish.

3. Look for a milky tint in the uncooked fish. Fish flesh is often pale pink or white in color, with a thin, transparent liquid layer on top. The meat of fresh or chilled fish will turn a glossy, milky tint as it matures and begins to spoil. The milky sections of the fish may also have a blue or grayish color. [9]

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  • If your fish has already been cooked, it will not develop a milky tint. This expiry date only applies to raw fish.
  • If you have a whole fish, the eyes will seem clouded if it has gone rotten.[10]
how do you know if tilapia is bad
Examine for symptoms of freezer burn.

4. Examine for symptoms of freezer burn. If you keep fish in the freezer for more than 9 months, it may get freezer burn. Look for crystalline ice peaks that have developed on the fish’s surface, as well as any discolored spots. [11] Throw away any freezer-burned food.
Food that has been frozen and burnt is still edible and will not make you sick. However, once freezer burn sets in, fish will lose much of its taste and take on a gritty texture.

Identifying Expired Salmon

how do you know if fish is bad
Keep an eye out to see whether the white lines in the meat vanish.

1. Keep an eye out to see whether the white lines in the meat vanish. Salmon, unlike most other types of fish, is well recognized for the tiny white lines that divide its meat’s layers or flakes. The presence of these lines indicates that the fish is still fresh and edible. If you see that these white lines have vanished or have turned a more gray hue, the salmon has most certainly gone bad. [12]

how to tell if fish has gone bad
Check to check whether the salmon is still firm.

2. Check to check whether the salmon is still firm. Fresh salmon should be firm to the touch and edible. If the salmon in your refrigerator has become squishy, mushy, or unusually soft in texture, it has most certainly gone bad. [13]
Salmon’s white lines between flakes might indicate hardness as well as freshness. The flesh will almost certainly be mushy once the lines have disappeared.

how to know if tilapia is bad
Look for discolored areas on the salmon’s flesh.

3. Look for discolored areas on the salmon’s flesh. Salmon, unlike other forms of fish, will develop discolorations as it matures and begins to go bad. Examine the surface of the meat. If you notice any spots that are not the normal pink hue of salmon, your fish has most certainly expired. [14]
The majority of salmon discolorations will be dark. Spotted salmon, on the other hand, can have little white-ish spots.

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What happens if you eat fish that has gone bad?

There are two types of food poisoning you can get from eating fish. They are ciguatera poisoning and scombroid poisoning. Ciguatera poisoning symptoms include abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Symptoms can progress to headache, muscle aches, and itchy, tingly, or numbness of the skin.

How can you tell if fish is safe to eat?

Fish should smell fresh and mild, not fishy, sour, or ammonia-like. A fish’s eyes should be clear and shiny. Whole fish should have firm flesh and red gills with no odor. Fresh fillets should have firm flesh and red blood lines, or red flesh if fresh tuna.

Is it OK to eat fish that smells fishy?

“Fishy” odors begin to develop in fish immediately after they are caught and killed, as bacteria on the surface break down the compound trimethylamine oxide into stinky trimethylamine. As long as the flesh is still firm and the skin is shiny rather than slimy, this fish is still fine to cook and eat.

Can you eat slightly spoiled fish?

Old fish is rarely a health risk

“This is simply a myth that has survived,” he says. According to him, if fish is sufficiently heated there is little that can make you sick.

How does fish smell when bad?

All fish—raw or cooked—smells like fish. However, refrigerated fish that has started to go bad will have an increasingly fishy smell. If given enough time, this potent fish smell will develop into the putrid smell of rotting meat. As fish continues to spoil, its pungent fish smell will grow stronger and stronger.

Can you eat week old fish?

Leftover fish should be safe for you to eat for an absolute maximum of up to 3 days after it has been cooked, according to the USDA.

How long does fish last in fridge?

2 days
How long can raw fish be kept in the fridge? In general, raw fish should be kept in the fridge 1 or 2 days maximum. If you are not going to eat the fish immediately, you can freeze it. It is best to freeze fish immediately to preserve freshness.

How long does fish last in the fridge uncooked?

two days
Bottom Line. Fresh fish can last in the fridge for up to two days, while cooked fish can be refrigerated for up to four days. If the fresh fish smells fishy or sour, or has any discoloration around the edges, it’s best to throw it out.

What does fresh fish smell like?

If you have ever caught fresh fish, you know that it doesn’t have a particularly strong odor, maybe a hint of ocean or lake water. But sometimes the fish you get from the store can have a pungent “fishy” odor.

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Should cod smell really fishy?

A lousy piece of raw Cod will have a milky, slimy appearance and a fishy smell. A week-old piece of Cod might smell fishy. It should not smell fishy at all. It shouldn’t smell ammonia-like, sour, or ammonia-like.

How do you cook spoiled fish?

It may sound counterintuitive—not to mention a little gross—but it’s true. Soak your filet in milk for 20 minutes, then pat dry and cook as you normally would for the recipe you prefer. The odor will be gone from the fish you’re cooking, and the flesh of the fish will taste fresher as well.

How long will white fish keep in refrigerator?

2 days
Raw fish and shellfish should be kept in the refrigerator (40 °F/4.4 °C or less) only 1 or 2 days before cooking or freezing. After cooking, store seafood in the refrigerator 3 to 4 days. Any frozen fish or shellfish will be safe indefinitely; however, the flavor and texture will lessen after lengthy storage.

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