There is something so decadent about a buttery filet of salmon. Whether grilled, pan-seared, or poached, salmon can be the centerpiece of a nice meal out or the staple of a healthy night cooking in. New findings on wild-caught salmon, however, have people concerned about this fatty fish.
Why? Worms. Yes, worms. Wild-caught salmon caught off the Alaskan coast have been found to carry Japanese broad tapeworms, also known as Diphyllobothrium nihonkaiense. This parasite was previously only found in fish caught in Asia. Somehow, however, the worms have made it closer to home. Four species are known to carry them: chum salmon, masu salmon, pink salmon, and sockeye salmon.
What to do? Does this mean you should stop eating salmon? Hardly, says researchers. The health effects aren’t generally serious; most folks who consume salmon with the parasite show no symptoms. While some may feel slight abdominal discomfort or nausea, only in rare cases does infection by the tapeworms turn serious.
And there is a way to rid your salmon filets of the tapeworm. Freezing the fish before cooking, or cooking to temperature will do the trick. This is an important step for consumers, as often times freshly caught fish are packed on ice, but not frozen. Simply icing the fish allows the tapeworm larvae to survive the trip from ocean to grocery store. So, incorporating freezing or thorough cooking to your food prep is a surefire way to get rid of any parasites.
Love sushi and sashimi? Fear not. The FDA requires any fish sold or served raw be frozen first, which kills any parasites. So salmon-lovers, keep calm and dine on.