Fish Preparation Methods
Proper fish cleaning and cooking techniques may reduce
PCB levels by approximately 50 percent when compared to raw fish fillets.
A meal size is considered to be an uncooked 8 ounce fillet. Eat only the
fillet portions. Do not eat whole fish or steak portions.
The following diagram illustrates those body portions.
Many chemical contaminants, like PCBs and pesticides (but not mercury),
are stored in the fatty portions of fish. To reduce the levels of these
chemicals, skin the fish and trim any of the dark meat (lateral line),
back strap and belly flap.
Do not eat the heads, guts or liver, because PCBs usually
concentrate in those body parts. Also, avoid consumption of any reproductive
parts such as eggs or roe.
Fish Cooking Methods
Use a cooking method such as baking, broiling, frying,
grilling, or steaming that allows the fats and juices to drain away from
the fish. When possible, cook the fish on an elevated rack that allows
fats and juices to drain to the pan below.
Avoid batter, breading or coatings that can hold in the
juices that may contain contaminants. The juices should be thrown away
since they contain the PCBs and other chemicals that were in the fat.
Do not pour these juices over the fish as a sauce or to moisten the fish.
Butter, margarine or other liquids can be added to the fish for this purpose
once the juices have been poured off.
After cooking, discard all liquids and frying oils. Do
Do not use heads, skin, trimmed fatty portions in soups,
stews, chowders, boils, broth or for fish stock. If you make stews or
chowders, only use skinless fillet parts.
Raw fish may be infested by parasites. Cook fish thoroughly
to destroy the parasites. This also helps to reduce the level of many
Crab Preparation Methods
Eating, selling or taking (harvesting) blue crabs from
Newark Bay Complex and the tidal Passaic River is prohibited. The Newark
Bay Complex is located in northeastern New Jersey. It includes the Newark
Bay, tidal Hackensack River, Arthur Kill, Kill Van Kull and tidal tributaries.
(See chart on page 8.) If blue crabs are taken from water bodies other
than the Passaic River/Newark Bay Complex, the following preparation techniques
can be followed to reduce exposure to some contaminants.
The highest levels of chemical contaminants are found
in the hepatopancreas, commonly known as the tomalley or green gland.
It is the yellowish green gland under the gills. This material is found
next to the lump meat (backfin) portion of the crab. Chill and break the
crabs immediately before cooking. Care must be taken to remove all of
the hepatopancreas before cooking.
There is no specific cooking method available to reduce
the chemical contaminant levels in blue crabs. The following steps for
proper preparation is key to reducing your exposure to harmful chemical