Why you should think twice before ordering sashimi
Sushi lovers around the world are no strangers to the allure of sashimi. This delicate Japanese delicacy offers a pure and unadulterated experience of raw fish, showcasing flavors and textures in their most natural form. But before you dive into a plate of sashimi, it’s important to understand the potential risks involved. In this article, we’ll explore why you should think twice about ordering sashimi and what precautions you can take to enjoy it safely.
The risks of eating raw fish
There are risks associated with eating raw fish, primarily due to the presence of parasites. These parasites can be harmful to human health and cause foodborne illness. While sushi typically combines raw fish with other ingredients such as rice, seaweed, and cooked fish, sashimi stands alone as a dish consisting solely of raw fish. This exclusivity increases the risks associated with its consumption.
Insights from a food safety expert
Toby Amidor, a renowned food safety and nutrition expert, highlights the potential dangers of eating sashimi. In an interview with Mashed, she confirms that eating raw fish increases the risk of foodborne illness. Amidor advises caution, especially for those who are more susceptible to illness, including young children, pregnant and nursing women, older adults, and those with weakened immune systems.
Choosing the right source
If you decide to indulge in sashimi despite the risks, it is important to be selective about where you get it. Amidor stresses the importance of purchasing fish and seafood, including sashimi, from reputable suppliers who use sushi-grade fish that has been properly sliced and frozen. This process helps to minimize the risk of parasites. By choosing trustworthy sources, you can significantly reduce the risk of health problems associated with eating raw fish.
Practice safe handling
Obtaining high-quality sashimi is only part of the equation. Proper handling and preparation are equally important to ensure your safety. Amidor recommends good personal hygiene when handling raw sashimi. Cross-contamination and other points of contact with raw fish can introduce harmful bacteria. By following strict hygiene protocols, such as washing hands thoroughly and using separate utensils and cutting boards for raw and cooked foods, you can minimize the risk of foodborne illness.
In addition to sourcing sashimi from reputable suppliers and practicing safe handling, there are some additional precautions you can take to further protect yourself:
- Educate yourself: Learn about the different types of fish commonly used in sashimi and their associated risks. Some types of fish are more susceptible to parasites than others, so understanding their characteristics can help you make informed choices.
- Temperature control: Ensure that sashimi is stored at the proper temperature to prevent bacterial growth. Refrigeration is essential to maintain freshness and minimize the risk of foodborne illness.
- Check expiration dates: Always check the expiration dates of fish before purchasing or eating sashimi. Expired fish may pose a higher risk of contamination and should be avoided.
While sashimi offers a unique and flavorful experience for seafood lovers, it’s important to approach it with caution. The raw nature of the fish increases the risk of foodborne illness, primarily due to parasites. By choosing reputable suppliers, practicing safe handling techniques, and taking additional precautions, you can enjoy sashimi while minimizing potential health risks. Remember, informed choices and adherence to proper food safety practices are key to enjoying this delicacy responsibly.
Is sashimi safe to eat?
While sashimi can be a delicious delicacy, there are certain risks associated with eating raw fish. Special precautions should be taken to minimize the potential for foodborne illness.
Who should be careful when eating sashimi?
Individuals who are more susceptible to illness, such as young children, pregnant and nursing women, older adults, and those with weakened immune systems, should use caution when eating raw fish such as sashimi.
Are there parasites in sashimi?
Yes, raw fish can carry parasites. It is important to purchase sashimi from reputable suppliers who use sushi-grade fish that has been properly frozen and cut to reduce the risk of parasites.
What precautions can I take to safely enjoy sashimi?
To ensure the safe consumption of sashimi, choose reliable sources, practice good personal hygiene when handling raw fish, use separate utensils and cutting boards for raw and cooked foods, and educate yourself about the types of fish used in sashimi and their associated risks.
Why is temperature control important for sashimi?
Proper temperature control, such as refrigeration, is essential to prevent bacterial growth and maintain the freshness of sashimi. Following temperature guidelines will help minimize the risk of foodborne illness.
How can I tell if sashimi is safe to eat?
Check the reputation of the supplier, ensure proper packaging, and check the expiration dates on the fish. When in doubt, it’s always best to consult a professional or opt for cooked alternatives.