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Another Reason To Hate Sushi

June 25, 2009

salmon Not only does salmon sushi look like a bug, it’s looks slimy, it’s raw and I just discovered that some of the most popular fish have parasites.

Eat Raw Fish…Get a 9-Foot Tapeworm

One summer day in August 2006, Anthony Franz went to a Chicago area hospital carrying a 9-foot worm.

He did not find it in his garden.

Franz is one of the few, but growing number of tapeworm victims in cities across the world who are discovering (or rediscovering) that some of the most popular fish can host parasites.

Although still rare, a study this June showed salmon tapeworm infestations tripled from an average of 0.32 cases per 100,000 people each year in Kyoto, Japan, to at least to 1 case in 100,000 people in 2008. As more people adopt sushi and undercooked fish diets around the world so too, has the worm spread.

“The parasite sucks the vitamin B12, and the person with the parasite does not have enough,” said Cabello. “This is a worm that can reach 25 feet and it might take months, a year to grow.”

And if that is still not gross enough for you:

It’s clearly possible to get a fish tapeworm in the United States.

“Chefs sometimes joke if the worms are moving then the fish is fresh,” said Helen Rennie, author of the blog Beyondsalmon ( and owner of Helen’s Kitchen cooking school in Boston.

“When I used to work in a restaurant I found that the fish I got was a lot more wormy than the fish I get in the store,” she said. “It’s natural.”

Rennie, who specializes in fish dishes, said large tuna varieties such as blue fin, yellow fin and big eye are usually parasite-free. But Rennie said trout, cod and wild small salmon such as sockeye and coho (not king salmon) are prone to parasites.

In fact many grocery stores sell fish that’s been through “candling” to remove surface parasites.

“They put fillets on glass and shine strong light through and pick it out worms with tweezers,” she said. “They do that so you don’t go to back to [the store] and rip the fishmonger’s head off.”

After reading this, I ‘m glad I have never eaten sushi and now I never will.

One Comment leave one →
  1. June 25, 2009 4:00 pm

    This will not change my sushi eating habits. I LOVE sushi…

    …although it IS really gross.

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