Although cooking fish may be effective at reducing your exposure to many contaminants, it may not work on all contaminants First, raw fish doesn't contain contaminants that form when fish is fried or grilled. For instance, fish cooked under high heat may contain varying amounts of heterocyclic amines Observational studies have associated a high intake of heterocyclic amines with an increased risk of cancer Second, frying fish may reduce the amount of healthy omega-3 fatty acids , like eicosapentaenoic acid EPA and docosahexaenoic acid DHA 29 , Additionally, there are other benefits to eating raw fish that have nothing to do with health.
Not having to cook saves time, and the appreciation of raw fish dishes helps maintain cultural diversity. If you enjoy the taste and texture of raw fish, there are several ways you can reduce the risk of parasitic and bacterial infections.
While freezing doesn't kill all bacteria, it stops their growth and can reduce their numbers Although marinating, brining or cold-smoking fish may reduce the number of parasites and bacteria they contain, these methods are not entirely reliable for preventing disease Eating raw fish is associated with a higher risk of parasitic infections and food poisoning. However, you can minimize the risk by following a few simple guidelines. Following these guidelines, you can enjoy raw fish both at home and in restaurants at minimal risk to your health.
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What is a parasite?
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Crustaceans eat the eggs, freshwater and anadromous fish eat the crustaceans, and we eat the fish. Many consumers prefer the delicate flavor and texture of uncooked fish found in sushi and sashimi thin slices of raw finfish dishes. But there should be caution in consuming raw fish because some species of fish can contain these harmful worms.
Eating raw, lightly cured, or insufficiently cooked infected fish can transfer the live worms to humans. Most of these parasites cannot adapt to human hosts. Often, if an infected fish is eaten, the parasites may be digested with no ill effects. Adequate freezing or cooking fish will kill any parasites that may be present.
Anisakiasis is caused by ingesting the larvae of several types of roundworm which are found in saltwater fish such as cod, plaice, halibut, rockfish, herring, Pollock, sea bass and flounder. Tapeworm infections occur after ingesting the larvae of diphyllobothrium which is found in freshwater fish such as pike, perch and anadromous fresh-saltwater fish such as salmon. Good handling practices on-board fishing vessels and in processing plants can minimize nematode infestation. Many seafood processors inspect seafood fillets of species likely to contain parasites.
This process called candling involves examining fish fillets over lights. Candling detects surface parasites. Unfortunately, they cannot always see parasites embedded deep in thick fillets or in dark tissue. Candling is also useful for revealing pinbones in fillets that are intended to be boneless.
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Normal cooking procedures generally exceed this temperature. If a thermometer is not available to check the internal temperature of the thickest portion of the fish, the fish should be cooked until it loses its translucency and flakes easily with a fork. If a parasite is present in a fish, you have several options:. Skip to main content. Download PDF. Two types of parasitic worms can infect humans: 1.