NutritionPhytonutrient Blog

Sushi: When raw fish rhymes with parasitic infections

The democratization of the consumption of sushi and other Japanese dishes is a fantastic cultural contribution to our eating habits. Recognized as very healthy, however, the consumption of raw fish does not only have benefits. Far from the scourge, it can still cause serious health problems whose risks are poorly assessed and underestimated.

Indeed, uncooked, any food presents a higher health risk. As for sushi, it must be realized that fish and crustaceans also feed on Anisakis larvae. Commonly known as herring worm, cod worm or whale worm,   Anisakis larvae are parasites found in more than 200 species of marine fish. Depending on the species and their place of origin, 15 to 100%   of marine fish are parasitized. The presence of the parasitic worm in Atlantic salmon and cod is therefore not unusual. It is also found in Scandinavia in cod livers, in the Netherlands in preserved herring and along the Pacific coast of South America in ceviche. They can also be found in cephalopods, for example squid and cuttlefish. On the other hand, they are absent in fish living in low salinity waters such as speckled trout.


are also rare in areas where cetaceans are not widespread, such as the southern part of the North Sea. In France, various surveys on the most frequently consumed commercial fish have led to infestation rates of around 30%   for mackerel, 60%   for horse mackerel, 70%   for whiting, 80%   for anchovies and 90%   for hake.

This parasitic infection affects 2,000 to 3,000 Japanese per year. With changes in our eating habits, cases are also occurring in Europe and America. The symptoms are similar to those of food   poisoning:   fever, intestinal pain and vomiting.

Doctors therefore recommend   that lovers of raw fish   be extra   vigilant. At issue is   the case of a 32-year-old Portuguese man who developed anisakiasis after a sushi meal. An endoscopy then revealed an impressive image of a worm-like parasite attached to the intestinal wall and whose tail was entering the stomach. The Anisakis marina may have been detached from the organs of the Portuguese but, this case demonstrates the dangers of eating raw fish.

To prevent them,   freezing below -20 ° C for 24 hours. is an effective method of killing Anisakidae.



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