How should fish be handled prior to preparation?

Raw salmonIdeally, frozen seafood should be thawed in the refrigerator, in its original packaging, in a pan to catch potentially tainted drippings.
Other methods require less time but greater vigilance. Fish thawed in cold tap water should be placed in  airtight packaging. The water should be changed every 30 minutes to keep it cold.
Fish thawed in a microwave oven should be cooked immediately since microwaving may cause some areas  to warm or cook, creating breeding grounds for bacteria. Alternatively, microwave fish on  the "defrost" setting and stop the cycle while the fish is still icy but pliable.
Prior to cooking, rinse fish in cold running water to help remove any surface bacteria. Wash hands with soap and warm water. To prevent cross-contamination, also use soap and warm water to wash counter tops, utensils, plates and other items that have touched the raw fish.  A disinfectant counter spray is also handy after preparing raw seafood.
Never leave seafood out of the refrigerator for more than two hours or for more than one hour when temperatures exceed 90°F. Bacteria that can cause illness grow quickly at temperatures between 40°F-140°F.
Cooked fish should not be placed on the same plate that held it in its raw state.
Food Alert! by Morton Stein, second edition, 2008.

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