Q. Why is the flesh of Smoked Snoek sometimes soft and can such fish be eaten?
A. Certain organisms associated with Snoek, under certain conditions excrete very active enzymes that dissolve the protein chains of the flesh and when the fish is cooked, the flesh becomes very soft and broken up.
The fish is safe to eat and won’t harm consumers. Unfortunately, this condition is not always obvious in the uncooked fish.
In a similar manner, canned pilchards may also become very brittle inside the can.
Q. Why do frozen prawns sometimes become black on the surface?
A. The blackening can be attributed to a process called melanosis, which is a chemical reaction combining certain sugars, amino acids and certain spore elements, like iron and copper in the prawns into the melanin compound.
The process is prevented by the use of certain anti-oxidants, such as sulphur dioxide.
Q. Why do people often become ill from mussels, oysters and similar marine molluscs?
A. Marine molluscs are known to accumulate certain marine biotoxins, excreted by certain
Dynoflaggelates and bacteria present in the seawater.
For this reason, only marine molluscs acquired from sources that are under the official control of Government bodies should be consumed. It is dangerous to consume molluscan shellfish acquired in any other way.
Q. Sometimes, certain parasites are present in frozen fish products. Are they harmful when ingested by consumers?
A. Due to the low temperatures to which commercially frozen fish are subjected, these parasites are dead and cannot be transferred to consumers when eating such fish. However, it has been indicated that a particular type of parasite can cause some allergic reactions to consumers, but only when they are present in large quantities. Consumers are thus advised not to eat fish that are infested with large quantities of a wormy type of parasites.