Something fishy!

Did you know that leaving fish to defrost in the kitchen can cause an allergic reaction?

A common form of food poisoning attributed to fish is Scombroid food poisoning.

Fresh fish needs to be frozen at source or kept at very low temperatures as the flesh starts to spoil at the relatively low temperature of 16°C.

Histamine is a naturally occurring amino acid that is present in fish. At temperatures above 16°C, histamine is converted into biogenic amine histamine. This Histamine is not destroyed by normal cooking temperatures, so even properly cooked fish can still result in poisoning. Histamine is also the natural chemical responsible for true allergic reactions and, as the symptoms produced by scombroid food poisoning are similar, it often gets misidentified as a food allergy.


Always defrost fish in the refrigerator under controlled temperature conditions as the outside temperature of the fish will easily rise to 16°C if defrosted in a warm kitchen.

Food fact

There are more species of fish than all the species of amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals combined.