Love Sushi? Beware Unwanted Parasites

sushiAs sushi and other raw seafood dishes become more popular in Western countries, doctors are warning about a dangerous parasite that could be lurking in undercooked fish and squid.  Amanda MacMillan from Food & Wine checked with health experts on common parasites found in raw fish and precautions to take before consuming them.

“More than 90% of reported cases of the parasite Anisakiasis have occurred in Japan, where raw fish is a large part of most people’s diets.  But because of changes in food habits around the world—and the increasing prevalence of sushi—it has been increasingly recognized in Western countries, according to Joana Carmo, MD, a gastroenterologist at the Hospital Egas Moniz in Lisbon.  In addition, researchers confirmed recently that another parasite, the Japanese broad tapeworm, has been found in wild pink salmon from the Alaskan Pacific.

“Despite these risks, there are many benefits to including fish—raw or otherwise—in your diet. As long as your doctor hasn’t warned you against it for specific reasons, most experts say that sushi is generally a healthy choice.  But to reduce the risk of parasites cook fish to 158 degrees Fahrenheit (70 degrees Celsius), or it freeze to -4 degrees Fahrenheit (-20 degrees Celsius) for a minimum of 72 hours.  According to Dr. Carmo, these precautions will kill any parasites that are present.”

For more information, read: These Intestinal Worms Might Be Hiding in Your Sushi, Doctors Warn