Caviar (paddlefish, shovelnose and Mississippi river sturgeon)
Caviar is the roe, or eggs, of the fish. Black caviar is harvested from sturgeon, which is greatly overfished. “These gentle prehistoric giants have survived for millions of years unchanged, but due to the high demand for their eggs they are almost extinct,” says Frankie Terzoli. Paddlefish and sturgeon are “long-lived, slow-growing fish that reproduce late in life,” which increases their risk of overfishing according to the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch.
Seafood lovers should proceed with caution when it comes to mahi mahi. This fish can cause histamine poisoning, or scombroid poisoning. If not refrigerated properly, bacteria breaks down the amino acid histidine in the fish, forming histamine, which can cause an illness that resembles an allergic reaction. “This fish is a histamine producer if not cared for throughout the supply chain,” says chef Frankie Terzoli. Some mahi mahi with unusually high levels of histamine will not appear spoiled at all, while others may have a bad odor or a honeycombed appearance when cooked. Other fish that can cause scrombroid poisoning include tuna, mackerel, skipjack and bonito. Buying from reputable sellers may lower the chance of contracting the illness.
Grocery store tuna sushi rolls and seafood trays
If you buy grocery store tuna rolls, understand that most are made from substandard seafood. The low-quality tuna that they contain has usually been treated with filtered carbon monoxide to change its color to red, extending its shelf life, cautions chef Frankie Terzoli. “Tuna that says ‘previously frozen’ and is still bright red in color has been treated to ensure the meat looks fresh,” he adds. This means you can’t judge freshness by the way the fish looks. Also think twice before buying a seafood tray in your local grocery store. “Often it’s packed outside the store and subject to a long distribution time,” says Frankie Terzoli. “Because the seafood supply chain isn’t tracked very well, it’s hard to have confidence in a product that has changed hands and sat in a warehouse for any amount of time.”