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Foodborne illness, scallops


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#1 HowardLi

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Posted 17 November 2008 - 11:08 PM

Are there any dangers when consuming uncooked scallop, either fresh or frozen? There are recipes that call for searing such that the center is pretty much only warm when done.

#2 Qwerty

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Posted 17 November 2008 - 11:52 PM

Are there dangers? Sure...but the likelihood if you are using a nice fresh scallop are pretty minimal. No more danger than eating any other type of raw/rare fish I would imagine.

#3 budrichard

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Posted 18 November 2008 - 07:27 AM

I purchase 'Day Boat' scallops from Browne Trading and when they arrived they are at most about 48 hours old. At that point we consume them as sashimi. I purchase a gallon can, so the rest are frozen and after that only cooked but to a warm center, no problems.
Most scallops that are not sold as 'dry pack' are bathed in a chemical bath and I would not consume those at all. Occasionally, I have had the opportunity to purchase in the shell and consume lightly cooked.
So to answer your question, unless from a source that you know of 'Day Boat' or in the shell, I would avoid raw consumption and would not fully cook.
Knowing the source and history of your fish is critical to consumption raw or lightly coooked. Most fish in todays distribution chain is not suitable for raw consumption.-Dick

#4 SeanDirty

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Posted 18 November 2008 - 01:17 PM

I purchase 'Day Boat' scallops from Browne Trading and when they arrived they are at most about 48 hours old. At that point we consume them as sashimi. I purchase a gallon can, so the rest are frozen and after that only cooked but to a warm center, no problems.
Most scallops that are not sold as 'dry pack' are bathed in a chemical bath and I would not consume those at all. Occasionally, I have had the opportunity to purchase in the shell and consume lightly cooked.
So to answer your question, unless from a source that you know of 'Day Boat' or in the shell, I would avoid raw consumption and would not fully cook.
Knowing the source and history of your fish is critical to consumption raw or lightly coooked. Most fish in todays distribution chain is not suitable for raw consumption.-Dick

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I am a fish purveyor, and funny Budrichard mentions Browne... as i work for one of their main competitors... Almost all scallops available to the general public in most of the United States will be WET scallops (soaked in Tripolyphosphate which is a salt solution) Doing this will add weight to the scallops, as well as causing them to look plump and shiny.

"dipping" the scallops results, cooking wise, in water leaking out as you sear it or cook it however you do, as well as keeping it from getting a good sear.

Major Foodborne Illnesses from scallops: Paralytic Shellfish poisoning (PSP) and Amnesic Shellfish poisoning (ASP) these illnesses can come from unclean waters, unsafe handling of seafood, cross contamination, aging of seafood... (seriously who would eat aged seafood...)

Now as i only deal with the utmost freshest scallops, i have grown snobby... I will only eat a raw scallop if its done by a chef i trust... or a Nantucket which are in season now Btw...

But only eat scallops from sources you trust. (Wholefoods is not a place you "trust") by trust i mean, you know exactly where it comes from, and trust the person when they say the approx age of the scallop. When possible buy Live scallops... (Eg Taylor bays, live large scallops)

Wet scallops... i wouldn't recommend eating, however they have been salt treated, and some are actually well done, however don't take the risk unless you know what your doing.
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#5 Shoom

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Posted 18 November 2008 - 01:44 PM

Just to make sure I understand you correctly (and before I start hyperventilating), all of the scallops that are sitting in a mass grocer's case have been treated with this chemical salt solution? Does it help to rinse them before cooking, or does the solution permeate the scallops throughout?

#6 paulraphael

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Posted 18 November 2008 - 01:50 PM

I agree with Sean.

Keep in mind that the shellfish toxins he mentions are poisons, not pathogens. They're not affected by cooking.

So the issue isn't raw or cooked; it's 100% about trusting your purveyor.

Also agreed that Wholefoods is not a trusted seafood purveyor. I like the produce and the deli counters, but that's some of the sorriest looking fish I ever lay my eyes on.

#7 Dave the Cook

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Posted 18 November 2008 - 02:03 PM

Just to make sure I understand you correctly (and before I start hyperventilating), all of the scallops that are sitting in a mass grocer's case have been treated with this chemical salt solution?  Does it help to rinse them before cooking, or does the solution permeate the scallops throughout?

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Aren't wet scallops required by law to be labeled as such?

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#8 SeanDirty

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Posted 18 November 2008 - 02:35 PM

No, scallops do not need to be labeled. It is not required by law, however shellfish is usually tracked via strict HACCP (Hazzard analysis Critical Control Point) guide lines that require places that carry shellfish to govern how the product is labeled stored, also harvest locations, and harvest dates.

As for the earlier hyper ventilation, yes almost all scallops the general public will see will be Dipped. Unless you live in a port town that is near scallop beds... eg California or New york, or Mass, you will probably not see dry scallops in your stores.

Many higher end restaurants nowadays will import seafood, so it is possible to get dry scallops in restaurants.

But if Wholefoods doesn't have dry scallops... would your neighborhood store?
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#9 HowardLi

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Posted 18 November 2008 - 05:18 PM

Would frozen scallops be any better for little cooking?

#10 pam claughton

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Posted 18 November 2008 - 05:33 PM

If you can get your hands on some of the Nantucket scallops you're in for a treat. I just got some yesterday as they're local to Plymouth, and only in season for about a month. These are scallops like no others, the sweetest I've ever had. And crazy expensive at $28.99 a pound.

#11 Magictofu

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Posted 18 November 2008 - 06:05 PM

In terms of taste and overall quality, I can't argue with what has been said so far. However, given that almost all modern recipes call for a barely cooked center (with a number of raw or pickled recipe in this lot) and that most people eat wet frozen scallops, I would assume that they are relatively safe to eat raw... I certainly ate my share of these scallops on the raw side and although I was not always satisfied of the culinary results, I never suffered from any food borne disease.

#12 SeanDirty

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Posted 19 November 2008 - 07:59 AM

Scary thing about frozen seafood is, often times the reason for freezing the seafood is that, its about to go bad. Alot of fish companies will freeze certain products just before it goes bad in an effort to sell it later and still turn a profit.

As for cooking frozen, well yes of course you can, and eating them semi raw is no problem. The real issue is proper cooking, its not as easy to get a proper sear onto a frozen scallop, and often times a scallop will loose alot of its water after thawing and cooking, reducing the size, and causing the scallop to be alittle rubbery.

A technique i learned from Mario Lohninger the chef of Silk and Micro in Germany is to score the scallops, by that i mean do a cross hatch so 2 cuts lengthwise and 2 cuts sideways and then searing them in a hot pan. It will make the scallop seem more tender, as well as help with carmelizing the scallop.
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#13 Magictofu

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Posted 19 November 2008 - 10:11 AM

As for cooking frozen, well yes of course you can, and eating them semi raw is no problem.  The real issue is proper cooking, its not as easy to get a proper sear onto a frozen scallop, and often times a scallop will loose alot of its water after thawing and cooking, reducing the size, and causing the scallop to be alittle rubbery.

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I would add that the worst frozen scallops cannot be seared properly at all.

#14 SeanDirty

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Posted 19 November 2008 - 11:41 AM

As for cooking frozen, well yes of course you can, and eating them semi raw is no problem.  The real issue is proper cooking, its not as easy to get a proper sear onto a frozen scallop, and often times a scallop will loose alot of its water after thawing and cooking, reducing the size, and causing the scallop to be alittle rubbery.

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I would add that the worst frozen scallops cannot be seared properly at all.

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I'd say the best frozen scallop you could probably get... not that i would encourage getting frozen seafood of any kind other then maybe squid, or conch, or maybe even tilapia. Would be the Hokkaido scallop....

Hokkaido is a farm raised Japanese scallop, usually its synonymous with large sizes about U-5 which means 5 in a pound... they are lightly dipped or not at all... but usually are somewhat expensive...
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#15 budrichard

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Posted 19 November 2008 - 02:39 PM

It's a pleasure to read the Posts by SeanDirty. He knows his scallops.
I have found in the last 5 years or so in the midwest, more and more upscale stores are indeed labeling thier scallops, dry or wet pack. I can consistantly get Sea of Cortez giant scallops in dry pack, just about as good as from Browne but I don't prepare them as sashimi simply because i don't know the history. Nantucket dry pack show up in season at one purveryor in Milwaukee and are exquisite.
We also order Taylor Bay scallops by the bag full in the shell. These are mostly consumed raw just like littlenecks and have the added benefit that they are very easy to open.
I have never eaten a frozen scallop or IQF, so I can't help you there except to comment, that the Day boat we freeze are very good months later but we still don't consume them raw after freezing.
Any wet pack scallop is impossible to brown whcih is how I found out about this treatment years ago when scallops i purchased simply would not brown. In the frenzy to make more money by increasing shelf life and water weight of the scallop. a whole industry was just about ruined.-Dick

#16 SeanDirty

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Posted 20 November 2008 - 07:55 AM

It's a pleasure to read the Posts by SeanDirty. He knows his scallops.
I have found in the last 5 years or so in the midwest, more and more upscale stores are indeed labeling thier scallops, dry or wet pack. I can consistantly get Sea of Cortez giant scallops in dry pack, just about as good as from Browne but I don't prepare them as sashimi simply because i don't know the history. Nantucket dry pack show up in season at one purveryor in Milwaukee and are exquisite.
We also order Taylor Bay scallops by the bag full in the shell. These are mostly consumed raw just like littlenecks and have the added benefit that they are very easy to open.
I have never eaten a frozen scallop or IQF, so I can't help you there except to comment, that the Day boat we freeze are very good months later but we still don't consume them raw after freezing.
Any wet pack scallop is impossible to brown whcih is how I found out about this treatment years ago when scallops i purchased simply would not brown. In the frenzy to make more money by increasing shelf life and water weight of the scallop. a whole industry was just about ruined.-Dick

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Coincidentally the one day i dont have taylor bays someone has to mention them... However here are some other pictures... Now i dont carry any wet scallops as i dont have any pictures of it, and 2 of these pics were taken with my blackberry seconds ago...

Posted Image
This is a picture of a 10/20 scallop on the left... and a U-5 Scallop on the right (U-XX means how many are in a pound)

Posted Image
These are Nantucket Bay scallops in Mid season

Posted Image
Lastly this is the scallop you would want, speaking quality wise of course... The Live Jumbo Scallop. The scallop inside is about a U-12, and may or may not contain RoE

Taylor bay pic will be up tomorrow.

Edited by SeanDirty, 20 November 2008 - 07:56 AM.

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#17 budrichard

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Posted 20 November 2008 - 03:25 PM

About 3 months ago my purveryor in Milwaukee had live in the shell at $12.99/scallop. Excellent, I also cook the mantle along with the roe. It seems a shame to have to toss that overboard in some places.
Taylor Bay's I get are farmed, small and a lot of work to shuck for cooking so just shucking and eating raw individually is the best use!-Dick

#18 SeanDirty

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Posted 20 November 2008 - 06:30 PM

My god 12.95!!!! We sell ours at 3.95p# and our quality is backed by the top chefs all over the country... We are even promoted in the F laundry cookbook... :-) if you want to see If we would be a good fit for your restaurant, send me a PM with a # I can reach you and we can talk some biz.
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#19 paulraphael

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Posted 20 November 2008 - 11:37 PM

Sean, do you sell retail? Or through any NYC retailers that you recommend?

#20 iHEARTalbany

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Posted 20 November 2008 - 11:46 PM

My god 12.95!!!! We sell ours at 3.95p# and our quality is backed by the top chefs all over the country... We are even promoted in the F laundry cookbook... :-) if you want to see If we would be a good fit for your restaurant, send me a PM with a # I can reach you and we can talk some biz.

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#21 SeanDirty

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Posted 21 November 2008 - 07:02 AM

My god 12.95!!!! We sell ours at 3.95p# and our quality is backed by the top chefs all over the country... We are even promoted in the F laundry cookbook... :-) if you want to see If we would be a good fit for your restaurant, send me a PM with a # I can reach you and we can talk some biz.

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Good to see sean dirty seeding on here...

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heh well ya know... that's a major rip off... if you were paying 3x the actual cost of a product wouldn't you want to know if you could get it just as easily at a fraction of the cost :)

As for fish companies i could recommend in NYC... well i'd hate to say go to grand central station, as i hate the company that sells there as we have had beef... but they do sell it. And generally its a convenient area... so Grand Central Market.

The thing about seafood in NYC is we can get decent seafood in alot more places.... I live in Astoria so i have these neighborhood seafood places. Not everything they sell is top knotch but you can touch, and smell, get in there with the product, where in a supermarket you cant...
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#22 paulraphael

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Posted 21 November 2008 - 05:56 PM

Sad to hear you have problems with them at Grand Central market. I've gotten the most consistently good seafood there of anyplace in the city (there are lots of places I haven't tried, though, so this is from limited experience).

#23 SeanDirty

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Posted 24 November 2008 - 08:35 AM

well it wasnt a problem with quality or product... its more of a i worked for them... but there are two fish companies that are there... theres one in Murry hill as well and one in dumbo...

This is the pic of the taylor bay scallops i promised, a few days late but they got in...
Posted Image

Taylor bays are a farmed scallop, however they have multicolored shells... and are great for presentation...

Edited by SeanDirty, 24 November 2008 - 08:43 AM.

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#24 Magictofu

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Posted 24 November 2008 - 11:42 AM

Taylor bays are a farmed scallop, however they have multicolored shells... and are great for presentation...

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How do farm scallops compare to wild ones? I tend to prefer farmed mussels to wild ones at least because they tend to be clean.

I also believe the harvest of most scallops is quite bad for seabeds (diver harverted scallops being the exception)... are farmed scallops better for the marine environment?

#25 SeanDirty

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Posted 24 November 2008 - 01:03 PM

well first, farming all depends on the farm, taylor bays are farmed very well, as they tend to be a great product. (Then again you eat with your eyes, so taylorbays are good for show, flavor wise... It's a nutral taste.)

As for dredging... As with any large industry dredging is a necessity, yes it's bad for beds, but they keep stringent harvesting guidelines... But in the end yes it's bad. As for diver, well that's a term thrown around like organic. You really think some guy is out there underwater for hours and hours... I couldent imagine how many scallops each diver could even provide. I'd imagine if he supplied at least 3 restaurants daily that would be amazing.
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#26 Country

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Posted 24 November 2008 - 06:59 PM

Going back to the first post. Raw scallops are great... when they've just come over the rail of the boat and shucked out and eaten immediately. Nothing like 'em.

PS. What SeanDirty refers to as "dredging" is generally called "dragging" here in Maine. Over the years I've made a few scallop drags, and repaired and rebuilt even more. All the fishermen dragging for scallops like to claim it's better for the bottom. It stirs things up and makes the ground more productive. I'm not so sure about that, but we still seem to have plenty of scallops in the Gulf of Maine.

The worst time came ten or fifteen years ago when a really big bed had been found and shrimping was bad in the Carolinas. They re-rigged for scallops, came up here, and wiped things out in short order. Same thing happened to the Newfoundland cod 20-25 years ago. The big boats came and wiped out the cod. The fishery still hasn't recovered.

Edited by Country, 24 November 2008 - 07:25 PM.


#27 johnnyd

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Posted 25 November 2008 - 11:57 AM

As for diver, well that's a term thrown around like organic. You really think some guy is out there underwater for hours and hours... I couldent imagine how many scallops each diver could even provide. I'd imagine if he supplied at least 3 restaurants daily that would be amazing.

Actually, it's like hunting for anything. I've swam for a whole tank (about 1 hour) and managed to pick up half a bag (a couple dozen) but the next tank I'll hit a little canyon where they all hide from the current and spend the rest of the tank shoveling them into net bags. A day like that will yield 80 - 100lbs. A diver can't safely do more than three tanks in a day (although it's done, easily) because scallops aren't found above 35 or 40 feet. You have to stay out of the water at increasingly longer intervals between dives.

------------

The worst time came ten or fifteen years ago when a really big bed had been found and shrimping was bad in the Carolinas. They re-rigged for scallops, came up here, and wiped things out in short order. Same thing happened to the Newfoundland cod 20-25 years ago. The big boats came and wiped out the cod. The fishery still hasn't recovered.

Country, who the hell let that happen? WTF?! :angry:

Edited by johnnyd, 25 November 2008 - 07:52 PM.

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#28 Country

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Posted 25 November 2008 - 02:41 PM

Johnny, You mean the scallops or the cod? Nothing could be done about the Carolina boats coming for the scallops.

More on the Newfoundland cod can be found here. I just happened to be listening to CBC radio the day the fishery was closed. It was really a shock. About halfway down the page at the link, you'll see the name of Sam Lee, who was an inshore fisherman that tried to get something done about the decimation of the cod by the big boats, but couldn't. All the local guys were handlining or, like Lee, using traps. You don't stand a chance with those big boats, especially when they start pair trawling. A year or two after the closing a really good radio program was done on it, and Sam Lee was featured. In the end, 25,000 people lost their living because of the closure. I taped the program and some day I'll have to dig it out and listen again.

As far as who's to blame? Here's what's written on the page after the opening link.

GOVERNMENT POLICY IS AT THE core of Newfoundland's fisheries problem. Canada's bureaucracy supported and even subsidized high-tech fish hunts because federal and provincial leaders wanted a modern domestic seafood industry to supply cod to international markets all year.


Edited by Country, 25 November 2008 - 02:45 PM.


#29 johnnyd

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Posted 26 November 2008 - 08:37 AM

Johnny, You mean the scallops or the cod? Nothing could be done about the Carolina boats coming for the scallops.

More on the Newfoundland cod can be found here.

As far as who's to blame? Here's what's written on the page after the opening link.

GOVERNMENT POLICY IS AT THE core of Newfoundland's fisheries problem. Canada's bureaucracy supported and even subsidized high-tech fish hunts because federal and provincial leaders wanted a modern domestic seafood industry to supply cod to international markets all year.

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I knew about the cod travesty, not the big scallop bed rape. They had to have had federal permits allowing them to do that, but no state permits needed or enforced? Was Maine asleep at the wheel again? We are veering off-topic - My pals in the biz could fill pages of discussion about fishing regs. Thankfully, they aren't members! :unsure:
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