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Thread: Risks of raw fish consumption

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    Default Risks of raw fish consumption

    I am starting this thread cause of several off topic comments I saw on a thread in the saltwater fishing forum indicating there was substantial interest in this topic. I am a sushi and sashimi fanatic. Tuna and salmon are my favorites. In extensive searches across the web, there are a lot of warnings about consumption of raw salmon. Most of the sources I have found that seem to know what they are talking about indicate that salmon should never be eaten raw due to parasites in the fish. These same sources indicate that if the fish is frozen for several days at a specific temp that will kill the parasites and then salmon is safe to eat raw. However, there are a fair number of sources on the web that say that freezing will not kill the parasites. My questions on the topic are many:

    1) is cold smoked salmon or lox also a risk for parasites?
    2) how big is this risk from wild Alaska salmon (dipped from Kenai or copper usually)
    3) does freezing fix the problem? If so, at what temp and for what length of time?
    4) I have eaten raw fish (some of it straight out of the river) for years and have never felt sick from it. Will I be able to tell if I ingest parasites or is it something a person can live with for years and never know you are infested?
    5) if parasites are a legitimate problem, what temp does the fish have to achieve to kill the parasites by heat?
    6) I also love halibut ceviche and have even eaten gray cod as sashimi (it was amazingly good which surprised me). Are those fish risky as well?

    Sorry for all the questions and thanks in advance for any definitive insights you can provide.

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    Member tabmarine's Avatar
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    I enjoy raw fish, oysters, clams and steak tartar and only got sick one time eating raw oysters in North Florida
    while visiting family for christmas one year....I think I crapped in every county from Leon to Broward on my way
    home. I think is has to do with the suppresion of our immune system over time from being to sanitized and eating
    over-processed foods. Your body needs some of these things to keep your immune system strong. This is why you
    see some areas in the world eat things on a regular basis that in other parts cause sickness.


    If your sysyem is used to it and you enjoy it then you should be ok by just using commen sense and safe handling.
    If you follow the USDA guidelines for cooking you will never enjoy a rare steak or MR burger and your fish will by
    overcooked and dry. An internal temp of 160 degrees overcooks most foods that I enjoy. Good freezing temp is
    0 or below minus ten being prefered.

    Raw or cooked proteins that sit within the "danger zone" 45 degrees to 140 degrees for 4-6 hours can be
    hazardous. IMO based on 25 years in the food business and my own experience.
    If we all agreed....this would be no fun

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    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by safari View Post
    I am starting this thread cause of several off topic comments I saw on a thread in the saltwater fishing forum indicating there was substantial interest in this topic. I am a sushi and sashimi fanatic. Tuna and salmon are my favorites. In extensive searches across the web, there are a lot of warnings about consumption of raw salmon. Most of the sources I have found that seem to know what they are talking about indicate that salmon should never be eaten raw due to parasites in the fish. These same sources indicate that if the fish is frozen for several days at a specific temp that will kill the parasites and then salmon is safe to eat raw. However, there are a fair number of sources on the web that say that freezing will not kill the parasites. My questions on the topic are many:

    1) is cold smoked salmon or lox also a risk for parasites?
    2) how big is this risk from wild Alaska salmon (dipped from Kenai or copper usually)
    3) does freezing fix the problem? If so, at what temp and for what length of time?
    4) I have eaten raw fish (some of it straight out of the river) for years and have never felt sick from it. Will I be able to tell if I ingest parasites or is it something a person can live with for years and never know you are infested?
    5) if parasites are a legitimate problem, what temp does the fish have to achieve to kill the parasites by heat?
    6) I also love halibut ceviche and have even eaten gray cod as sashimi (it was amazingly good which surprised me). Are those fish risky as well?

    Sorry for all the questions and thanks in advance for any definitive insights you can provide.
    Here's some food for thought on the subject; answers to most all your questions are addressed in the first three documents:

    http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/e...411suspara.pdf

    http://www.fda.gov/downloads/Food/Gu.../UCM252393.pdf

    http://nsgl.gso.uri.edu/oresu/oresur86040.pdf

    http://www.oie.int/doc/ged/D9381.PDF

    http://ec.europa.eu/food/fs/sc/scv/out05_en.html

    http://bio390parasitology.blogspot.c...-gone-bad.html

    http://www.dpd.cdc.gov/dpdx/HTML/Anisakiasis.htm
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    Member tabmarine's Avatar
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    If you read this you will never eat raw seafood again. The government always goes to the extreme to
    cover their XXX. I guarentee if you cook any fish or steak to an internal temp of 160 degrees you will not
    enjoy it unless you like dry chewy crap.
    If we all agreed....this would be no fun

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    Not sure where you are going to find definitive answers to your questions, but I'd be leery of any advice from "armchair experts" on matters pertaining to your health. Unless you want to just ...

    Actually, your best bet is probably making friends with a renowned sushi chef.

    On the other hand, I hear tapeworms make one hell of a diet aide!

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    My personal experience only. I will say I am Japanese and involved in the seafood biz. But I. Am NOT a food safety expert.

    I only eat fresh raw species of salmon if they are caught in saltwater. Freshwater exposure I believe increases the odds for parasite issues. Otherwise just freeze them for a few days and I think you are fine. It's one of the huge advantages farmed salmon has over wild. It's generally considered that you can't eat wild salmon raw without freezing first though its not necessarily true. But you can for the farmed Atlantic.

    In my opinion the fish I eat raw include: saltwater caught salmon (but not fool proof), rockfish, halibut frill meat (engawa in Japanese), spot prawns( why would anyone cook these!?!?! Lol. Yah I'm Asian)

    So do you feel adventurous? The best sashimi I have EVER had from Alaska based fish was herring I jigged up in Whittier. My Japanese friend said as long as the herring was fresh it wouldn't be a problem.. OMG it was amazingly good!! And I didn't get sick.
    it's so hard with all the crazy FDA guidelines. Not sure I can recommend that. But I'm going to keep eating it!!!

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    My wife makes it a habit of clubbing them and having strips of sushi on a plate in a matter of mins when we are on the salt..been eating it that way for over 8 years as well as the rest of us and never had an issue...I will say that after I showed the kids a worm moving around in one it changed one of their minds...but the other keeps at it with mom

    time will tell
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    Does the thought of the raw worm burrowing into your intestine bother you? Are you so concerned with flavor that you are willing to be a host for a bunch of parasites. Pretty stupid when you think about it....

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    Quote Originally Posted by pipercub View Post
    Does the thought of the raw worm burrowing into your intestine bother you?
    It bothers me to think about it! No I don't care to be a host for a bunch of worms....
    "Grin and Bear It"

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    During October 1984 several cases of Diphyllobothrium (fish tapeworm) were reported among civilian and military personnel at King Salmon. Epidemiologic investigation showed that four outbreaks occurred. Three outbreaks were traced to individuals eating from at least four separate batches of raw salmon prepared using a recipe for cerviche brought to Naknek in early July by a visitor from California. In addition, a fourth outbreak of fish tapeworm occurred in an asymptomatic fishing guide who ate raw salmon for a number of years...
    On July 12, 1982 a dramatic outbreak of Anisakiasis occurred in six people who ate salmon steaks from a red salmon caught in Chitna. The fish had been caught the day before and kept in a refrigerator overnight, but was not frozen. It was baked at 350 for less than one-half hour. Those eating recalled that the fish, particularly along the spine, appeared to be raw. Four of the six persons who ate the fish developed severe stomach pains and, within one hour after eating the meal, vomited viable worms about 2 centimeters in length...

    Diphyllobothrium
    and Anisakiasis are a bad deal. Over a thousand cases of Anisakiasis are diagnosed in Japan annually from eating raw fish. If it hasn't been sufficiently frozen or cooked you're just playing Russian roulette. When you find yourself in the ER thinking you're going to die, will you find comfort in the words of those on the internet who said "I eat raw salmon fresh from the salt all the time and haven't gotten sick yet"...?
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    Default Parisites in Fish

    These pics may change your mind about consuming raw or undercooked fish.

    diphyllobothrium pacificum.jpganisakis.jpg
    "Grin and Bear It"

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    These pics may change your mind about consuming raw or undercooked fish.







    YUM!!!!!!!!!
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    That's funny ...when I first saw your post, I thought you were talking about the worms being yummy. Though in some countries worms and grubs are considered a delicacy. Those fish dishes look good alright, but I'll still pass on taking the chance of having uninvited guests 'in' my dinner.
    "Grin and Bear It"

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    If properly prepared, there is nothing to chance.

    I used to vehemently despise the concept of sushi......Man, was I ever wrong!
    “Life has become immeasurably better since I have been forced to stop taking it seriously.” ― H.S.T.
    "Character is how you treat those who can do nothing for you."

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    So what is your recipe for proper preparing? Freezing, soak in brine, etc...Thanks.
    "Grin and Bear It"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tearbear View Post
    So what is your recipe for proper preparing? Freezing, soak in brine, etc. Thanks.

    I'm an admitted novice at the art of it.

    That said, I prefer to deep freeze any products I am going to use. And I always defer to those who have more experience.

    BrianM and HomerDave are both aficionados at this, and you'd be far better off seeking them out on the subject. I've been to Shines in Eagle River, and I must say that (pun intended) their menu is to die for!
    “Life has become immeasurably better since I have been forced to stop taking it seriously.” ― H.S.T.
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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlaskaHippie View Post
    BrianM and HomerDave are both aficionados at this, and you'd be far better off seeking them out on the subject. I've been to Shines in Eagle River, and I must say that (pun intended) their menu is to die for!
    I am far from an aficionado - I've just dabbled, but Dave knows his stuff.

    We used freshwater salmon once without freezing it. When we saw worms crawling out of the leftovers the next morning, we changed our approach. We now only use stuff from the salt (or right at the mouth of the river) and freeze it for at least 48 hours first. I'd feel comfortable slicing a fish right on the boat if we were out at sea, but in general we freeze it first.

    As for the risk involved, way more people get sick eating produce from the store, fast food, etc. Our industrial food system is so rife with bacterial infection that the risk posed by eating a raw slab of wild salmon pales in comparison.

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    To each his own...I love a cooked on the grill tuna or salmon steak. Taste pretty ****ed good to me and no perforated intestines to worry about....

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    okay, i'll chime in, fwiw and ymmv....
    I eat raw feeder king and don't think twice about it. The only real reason i freeze it is to make it easy to slice thin. Also the "frill" meat from a halibut (engawa is the rod-like meat that is found at the base of the fin muscle and looks like small cylinders side-by-side, resembling Japanese bamboo flooring, which is called engawa) and cheek meat are great sashimi. No worms in either, as far as i know.
    I won't eat red salmon sushi unless kipper (cooked) smoked. Cold smoked red WILL make you sick.
    Silvers make great lox and cold smoked salmon, but again I only eat troll caught fish from the salt.
    In all honesty, we don't eat any salmon from fresh water ever.
    Rockfish is great sashimi, as is cod, but it has to be candled for worms, and if you don't know what you're doing don't bother.
    Black cod is AMAZING sashimi, but you hardly ever get any that hasn't been frozen.
    As to whether fish needs to be frozen to be safe, you just have to educate yourself in every way you can and then make your own decision.
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    When I was in SERE school (survival school), I was taught that 99% of SALTwater fish is safe to eat raw. Freshwater fish, or any fish exposed to freshwater (salmon in rivers) is not safe.

    The instructor mentioned a few weirdos like puffer fish, etc, but anything you are likely to get on a hook in the salt can be eaten raw.
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