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Thread: is fresh/unfrozen halibut safe for a ceviche dish?

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    Member mainer_in_ak's Avatar
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    Default is fresh/unfrozen halibut safe for a ceviche dish?

    Ate about a pound of ceviche a couple months ago. It was marinated raw in lime, lemon juice, chile peppers, onions, and cilantro. Is this a safe dish with worms n all? Does it kill parasites harmful to humans?

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    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    The acidity of the ingredients in ceviche is not guaranteed to kill potentially harmful parasites. Eating fresh ceviche is one of life's little(?) gambles.

    Parasites become a concern when consumers eat raw or lightly preserved fish such as sashimi, sushi, ceviche, and gravlax. When preparing these products, use commercially frozen fish. Alternatively, freeze the fish to an internal temperature of -4F for at least 7 days to kill any parasites that may be present. Home freezers range from 0F to 10F and may not be cold enough to kill parasites.
    http://seafoodhealthfacts.org/seafoo.../parasites.php
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    The Japanese refuse to eat halibut or flounder raw in any form unless it's been frozen first- really cold. At least 96 hours at -20F, which is a lot colder than most home freezers. At home freezer temps they let it stay frozen a month before thawing and eating raw. That tells me all I need to know about ceviche. Love the stuff, but I freeze my hali a month before making it.

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    Member NeverLand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrownBear View Post
    The Japanese refuse to eat halibut or flounder raw in any form unless it's been frozen first- really cold. At least 96 hours at -20F, which is a lot colder than most home freezers. At home freezer temps they let it stay frozen a month before thawing and eating raw. That tells me all I need to know about ceviche. Love the stuff, but I freeze my hali a month before making it.
    Good advice.

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    Supporting Member bullbuster's Avatar
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    Oooops. Gotta change my ways I guess. Maybe that's why I am so svelte.
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    Member Jack in Alaska's Avatar
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    We eat fresh halibut cheeks sliced real thin, dip in Wasabe Sauce with a toothpick and down the hatch. Have been doing this for years and still kicking.

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    Enjoy. Many moons ago (as in long, long ago- the 1970's) I worked in Japan with the researchers looking for sure ways to kill the parasites in all flatfish (hirame) and halibut (ohyo). There's a nasty little one that's not a tapeworm, though those are an issue too. It's a nematode that embeds in the stomach wall of it's victim and causes pain beyond any ulcer you've ever heard of. At that time the only way to get rid of them was surgical, but I understand they now have a drug that's somewhat effective most of the time.

    A few years later I was visited by a delegation of the researchers, and we were invited down to a friend's longliner to give them a closer look at the fishing side of things. He thought it would be really neat to serve them sashimi, and they really liked it until one of them asked how long it had been frozen. He said he'd caught it that morning, and they all spit out what they had in their mouths, then went to the galley sink and stuck their fingers down their throats to hurl the rest.

    Enjoy your fresh halibut. If you start getting really severe cramps a few days later, don't forget to tell the doc about your treats.

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    Member Cap'n Ron's Avatar
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    Old wives tales?? I was told long ago (many many moons...) that none of the parasites in any saltwater organism are able to parasitise humans. Now remember, we are talking about parasites, not bacteria like PSP...wait!! I guess those are parasites too...well, anyway, none of the worms can infest humans, including nematodes, that was what I was told by an MD marine biologist...

    So Brownbear, you always have some sage knowledge and advice, are you sure about this gut pain nematode?? Probably this is all like that giardia stuff, which IS real and harmful: I drank creek water, and some swamp and lake water, all over the USA and never had a problem, now that I know about that "beaver fever" I would probably get sick if I drank the same water now...or not, but who wants to take the chance?

    Haven't got the bird flu or the swine flu from handling my chickens and pigs without washing my hands yet. If I did, though, I'd know what to do: for the bird flu, you gotta have "tweetment" but for the swine flu, you just use some "oinkment"

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    Do your homework.

    Read up on the dangers of eating raw fish and then read what you can do to prevent it from happening. Sure, many persons have consumed raw product with no harm (including me), but we have been lucky. The illness can be quite suffering and it is barely treatable. Only one fish is reputed to be parasite free and that's the tuna. The rest are all at risk.

    I got into this debate with a charter captain earlier in late June and I really did my homework before leaving for Honolulu and a Ahi Tuna takedown in early July. All the information was very conclusive. Raw fish is a risk.

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  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cap'n Ron View Post
    .

    So Brownbear, you always have some sage knowledge and advice, are you sure about this gut pain nematode?? Probably this is all like that giardia stuff, which IS real and harmful: I drank creek water, and some swamp and lake water, all over the USA and never had a problem, now that I know about that "beaver fever" I would probably get sick if I drank the same water now...or not, but who wants to take the chance?
    Absolutely. Got to see samples of imbedded nematodes collected and preserved in autopsies of fatal cases, as well as photos from the surgical suites at the time of removal in emergency rooms. Flatfish nematodes scare the Japanese silly. Dunno diddly about parasites in MD, so maybe they don't have such issues back there, but I lean more toward your skipper repeating an old wife's tale.

    Tape worms are no fun either, but they aren't as likely to send you to the ER with severe bleeding and a lot of worried faces looming over you while you're waiting on the table.

    The question in my mind is always "how likely" are we to pickup the parasites. Dunno, but if and when it happens, once in a great while is waaay too often for me. We absolutely love sushi, sashimi, pokey, ceviche and more. There's no doubt we eat more than half of all our fish raw in one form or another. But we take zero chances.

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    Member Floridascuba's Avatar
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    Price of limes alone deters me from ceviche. But I love ceviche. Especially conch ceviche. Want to try it with ling cod.

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    -4 for 7 days kills ALL parasites. My freezer stays at -6 if I don't open it so I just freeze for a min of 7 days and enjoy. We eat salmon halibut and rock fish raw and in ceviche.

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