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Worms in my cod

  • h

I bought a nice looking scrod filet to broil and when I opened the wrapper, I found two small, live worms on the fish (more like half in, half out). After a call to two fish sellers, I was assured that this was normal for a "bottom dweller" and that I had a fresh catch. So I broiled the cod and was enjoying it when I found two dead worms halfway through my meal. I decided to throw it out and am now eating the guacamole I made earlier.

I realize all sorts of organisms can get into the food we eat and maybe those tiny worms are not a big deal but I'm a little grossed out. I don't eat a lot of fish but I've only had one other experience like this one; worms on my raw oysters at a restaurant in New Orleans.

I guess I'm wondering in the case of the scrod, is there anything the fish monger can do to get rid of the worms? Burried in the fish's flesh, I don't know what they can do to completely eradicate the worms. Did I just get unlucky with this filet? I'd love to hear some hounds opinions about the worms in my scrod.


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  1. Happens to salmon too.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Candy

      Yes, this happened to me many years ago when a piece of worm crawled out of my salmon, which I had just taken out of the frige (I bought it that day). I come from a culture that eats just about anything, but since I never wanted worms with my food, I chucked the salmon. I've also found live critters in organic vegetables.

      1. re: gloriousfood

        I'll never forget at the height of my vegetarian period being dismayed when served bouillabaisse at a neighborhood get together--the kind where everything in the soup is whole, has eyes staring at you, & requires decapitating. I looked hopefully up at my garden fresh salad. Just then, a large green worm sauntered across the top of the just picked vegetables...

        1. re: gloriousfood

          Yeah. I'm all for organic but if they made add to 'farm fresh organic' something like "might have bugs!" there goes the appeal.

          I never eat whole strawberries anymore. Anything sized like it might be a weekend vacation retreat for a small critter gets sliced and examined before ingestion. (I do what I can.)

      2. Wild fish often has some worms in it, especially the more predatory ones. The worms are not diseased or germ-laden, they are not poisonous; if you ate a cooked one by accident and didn't see it you'd never know it, and it wouldn't make you sick. When I was eating regularly at the table of some homesteader friends in Anchor Point, Alaska, whose principal protein source was salmon, I quickly learned that the proper etiquette upon finding a worm in your steak or filet was to set it aside and say nothing. They were then fed to the dogs.

        The only way to get rid of these worms, AFAIK, is to either pull the meat apart and extract them, or dunk the fish in something toxic that would render it inedible.

        1. A friend of mine found a worm in his fish chowder (full of cod/haddock) at Legal's one time - he brought it back expecting some sort of compensation. They gave him none, said that while they do their best to make sure that parasites are removed while processing, it's not 100%, and they're not harmful. Cod (of all types) are caught on lines sunk to the bottom, so they are bottom feeders, as the fishmonger said.

          1. is there anything the fish monger can do to get rid of the worms?

            The fish monger should be using a lighted table, aka candling.

            I'd love to hear some hounds opinions about the worms in my scrod.

            Worms are natural. But be careful when eating "home prepared" raw fish (sushi/sashimi).

            1. I found worms in sole bought from a very good fish market and stopped buying there for years. I know it is natural but I'm with you- I have no interest in eating worms, natural or not. Horrible.

              1. If the thought bothers you, don't ever touch swordfish, because it's one of the fish we eat that is most susceptible to having worms. Big ones at that.

                5 Replies
                1. re: Karl S

                  Just what I was going to say, swordfish is notorious. A looong time ago, I was a manager at a seafood restaurant, I asked a customer how everything was, and he told me ( and showed me) there were worms in his haddock, but no big deal as he was a marine biologist and he knew this was completely normal. But I was grossed out.

                  1. re: coll

                    I stopped eating swordfish years ago after reading about this. Natural or not, I just couldn't get past this and I've never been able to eat it since.

                    1. re: coll

                      Lucky draw as to the patron's profession!

                      1. re: coll

                        Grouper, especially red, very common. Salmon and Swordfish too, basically you may never know they are there. No bother to me.

                      2. re: Karl S

                        i tried swordfish once, it tasted a lot like cat food or something to that degree... is that normal? or the chef just prepared it differently?

                      3. You will find some type of worm in most sausages or salami. Just because you can't see it doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: doraymee

                          Please elaborate! I already avoid sausages due to the high fat content, but are you saying that even scrupulous sausage makers cannot avoid cranking out sausage that will probably have worms in it?

                            1. re: doraymee

                              I just skimmed the article, and didn't see any suggestion of MOST sausages or salami, just that salami CAN harbor worms. There is a big difference, please clarify and quote if possible why you say MOST sausages or salami have some type of worm. Thanks.

                          1. re: doraymee

                            thats why they taste so good haha

                          2. Years of prepping fish in restaurants, I've only found worms in cod and scrod. I know it happens in other fish, but I've never seen it. I didn't even know worms occured in salmon and swordfish like others have said here. Even in cod and scrod it was a once-in-awhile happening. Often enough to not be surprising, but nowhere near every time. And I'd usually only find 1 or 2 in a large piece of fish. The piece you encountered does sound like it was heavily infested. That's pretty gross and I don't think I'd have eaten it either. Though if cooked, I believe they are harmless.

                            1. worms belong in two places, gardens and puddles on the sidewalk, never on my plate. I would never eat a piece of fish that has noticeable worms in/on it. If the fishmonger won't take back i have a really good insinkerator that loves to eat them, twist and turn. if you go back to this fish store, my wife would veto that one, i would check each piece of fish individually before i paid. no need to relive Upton Sinclair with the sausage stories.

                              1. I've never encountered worms in any fish I've prepared at home. That said, I'm really intrigued by the fact that half the respondents to this thread have expressed an aversion to worms to an extreme extent.

                                What is a worm, anyhow? An invertibrate, and pretty much solid protein, eaten by many cultures.

                                In America, I think we have a knee-jerk, visceral reaction to the "ick factor" (this comes up with bugs in flour/rice, too), which may relate back to a historical significance that infested food (however minor) is bad. Today, with refrigeration, I would speculate that it has nothing to to with health, and everything to do with the "ick factor." Many cultures other than ours have survived on such insects and worms.

                                24 Replies
                                1. re: DanaB

                                  I think you are right. I remember my dad telling me when I was little, that cod could have worms. Took a long time for me to be able to eat cod. Definitely the ick factor. He told me that is one reason cod is used for choweder- easy to see the worms, and get them out. Not sure if it is true, but that story has stuck with mefor 40+ years!!

                                  1. re: DanaB

                                    Most Americans who lack the cultural knowledge that comes from growing up with a natural food supply would do well to listen to their "ick factor". I have been reprimanded, in the tropics, from eaten fallen fruit off the ground, by locals , because of tiny worms in the fruit that could make me sick if I ate them. In that case I was the stupid American who didn't know better. The insects and grubs consumed on a regular basis, are very particular types, and often gathered at particular stages of their growth , and the people doing so would probably be just as disgusted at eating any old insect, or a non-culinary insect, as an American finding worms in her cod.
                                    There's a big difference between the worms, grubs and insects gathered and eaten for food, and parasitic worms in meat, fish and fruits. Parasitic worms can actually cause severe health problems. I have read most of the responses here , and even the people who well know that worms can often be found in fish are saying REMOVE them. I know that if they are FULLY cooked, they won't hurt you. But given the current trend for lightly cooked fish, I would be unlikely to enjoy fish that I knew had worms, even if they were cooked, because I would be wondering, was this cooked enough? I always examine fish for worms. I have only found them twice in the ten years I have bought fish from the extremely expensive fishmonger I purchase from. I returned the fish for a refund, I once returned a piece of local halibut once because it was full of holes. I expect the fishmonger to look for and remove any worms, or discard fish that is too infested for them to be all removed.

                                    1. re: ciaolette

                                      I read a story once about women making gefilte fish for the holidays and getting unbelievably messed up because it is common to find tapeworms in there, and since it's not cooked they are still alive. Just to gross you out some more!

                                      1. re: coll

                                        Gefilte fish is cooked, but generally served chilled. The problems have been from the cook tasting the uncooked mix to correct the seasonings.

                                        1. re: meatn3

                                          That's it, thanks, now I remember. Anyway tapeworms scare me the most.

                                        2. re: coll

                                          gefilte fish is a cooked dish.
                                          trust me on this

                                          1. re: westsidegal

                                            I realized after I wrote this that it was because the women were tasting the raw fish before cooking it. Just the cooks were getting sick. I think I tasted jarred gefilte once and had no desire to explore further.....it SEEMED like it was raw to me.

                                      2. re: DanaB

                                        To me, having done some food sanitation study and working in a medical setting, worms in food = parasitic infestation. I would be seriously paranoid that a piece of fish containing visible live worms would also contain their larvae, eggs and cysts in higher than normal numbers. While thorough cooking would kill the live adult worms, the cysts could still survive high temperatures and infect your digestive tract or bloodstream.

                                        1. re: IrisLaRue

                                          Of all the comments here, and some are from well-educated people, in the food business, I have not seen anyone else comment on, or make the suggestion that (in a cooked piece of fish), any larvae, eggs or cysts are still alive to eat you up, from the inside out!
                                          Pleas show some proof for your claim that these could be present, along with a worm, in the meat of the fish, and/or would remain alive after proper cooking. Even if present, could they hatch, grow or develop in a human's digestive system? Would these be in the meat of the fish or perhaps only in the fish's digestive tract or other organs?

                                          1. re: Scargod

                                            People often take ideas and run wild with them without proper knowledge or insight. Just know that there are sometimes worms in fish and that they will not kill you or your precious insides.

                                            If they did, we'd be hearing all about cod and tuna in the news instead of peanut butter.

                                            1. re: Scargod


                                              An excellent excerpt showing that parasitic cysts can survive temperatures as high as 212 degrees F in fish. The recommended internal temperature for fish steaks is 125-140 degrees F. While Heterophyes are flukes and not worms, many common parasitic worms have similar survival mechanisms.

                                              Some cysts containing larvae can survive completely inactive and benign inside a host for a number of years, embedded in muscle tissue, with no obvious symptoms. They can then come out of their inactive state and begin to reproduce.

                                              In general, parasitic worms are found mainly in the muscle tissue of the host, since the eggs travel through the bloodstream and embed in the muscles. The upper digestive tract is too active and chemically hazardous to support larvae.

                                              1. re: Scargod

                                                I learned in a parasitology class a long time ago that it is very difficult for a
                                                parasite hosted in a cold-blooded animal (the fish) to successfully transfer
                                                to a warm-blooded host (you).

                                                1. re: ThaiNut

                                                  Sorry but that is not true. All it takes is a little undercooked meat to transmit from the fish to the host. In fact, in my parasitology class, we learned about some sort of Olympic training team in alaska that all got terrible infections with the salmon tapeworm, Diphyllobothrium latum, because they ate undercooked salmon.
                                                  That being said, the "Ick factor" is what I would consider an evolutionary adaptation to avoid parasitic infections. Those who possess the ick factor do not eat the infected meat and therefore do not develop a parasitic infection. Those who do not have it, eat the meat, develop the infection, and may die or just not feel well enough to reproduce. Therefore, the ick factor may have been passed on to protect us....or I'm just full of it. I thought I would throw some evolution in there while I can.
                                                  Heres the deal: if you freeze your meat well enough or cook it well enough, you won't have any problems. Yes, the worms are disgusting but if the meat is properly cooked, you'll be fine. The same idea applies to vegetation. Yes, there are parasites that are ingested on vegetation (Fasciola hepatica and Fasciolopsis buski, found on water cress and water chestnuts) that just need to be cooked. Most vegetation just needs to be washed VERY well before being eaten and those non-parasitic worms that you found in your green salad could have bee avoided.
                                                  If you really want to worry about parasitic infections, can I advise avoiding pork products? There are so many parasitic life cycles that involve pigs that it just makes me sick to think about, not to mention the nastiest tapeworm of them all, Taenia solium, comes from pork products and the feces of those infected by Taenia solium. There is actually an idea floating around the parasitology world that the real reason the ancient jewish population chose to avoid pork is due to the fact that it was often served undercooked and resulted in many deaths and illnesses. It is just an idea though.

                                                  1. re: kelley2

                                                    For all the scaremongering you're doing here, I wonder if these biology classes discuss the actual risk issues. How many incidents of parasitic infections occur in the civilized world? Compared to how much raw fish (and other sources) are consumed by how many millions and millions of people? What is the actual risk of being infected? What do the CDC records indicate are the risks in recent history, what are the controlling or mitigating factors?

                                                    When e.coli outbreaks or parasitic infections occur, they affect groups of people. That's entirely understandable - it's the nature of the infection. Nevertheless, it is generally localized - one fish, one batch of beef, etc. There are cases of salmonella escaping into the masses - super-efficient global distribution makes 100% control virtually impossible. Nevertheless, the source is unique - a rare occurrance of a dangerous part of life.

                                                    Life is about risk management - we all have to decide whether to live out of the bubble, cross the street, drive the car on the highway, eat raw fish, pink pig, rare beef. Part of that rational decision making process includes assessing the actual risks and the real benefits. For chowhounds and foodies, food is a significant benefit. It will take a significant risk to offset the desire to eat these "dangerous" foods. Understanding how dangerous is important, I agree - but it's not just about understanding the biological mechanisms you speak of, but of understanding the real number of incidents and the controlling factors, if any.

                                                    The concept of a genetically coded ick factor seems silly in the face of entire races of people eating raw fish (to say nothing of entrails, etc.) for centuries. It's one thing to have the ick response to actually seeing parasites, but to say that people have ick responses to raw fish, pink pork, etc., for health reasons, seems a bit far-fetched. Americans ick at everything unusual - a direct result of being raised on TV dinners and Kraft Macn'cheese for several generations. That may have lead to genetic problems in taste bud development, but ick?

                                                    The Jewish (and Islam) pork (and shellfish and other easily spoilable food) prohibition is irrelevant today, as a science issue. Whether it was a health issue "originally" is not a meaningful discussion in terms of either science or anthropology, as it is has been a matter of religious dictum and faith since its origins - not a rational response to environmental dangers. Idle speculation, indeed.

                                                      1. re: Fritter

                                                        Once again, more scaremongering, even with the CDC drawing included in the article. This does absolutely nothing at all to contribute to the discussion of risk. How often does this happen? Are there other factors that contribute (type of fish, region, temperature, etcetc...) Is this in every single piece of fish you get that hasn't been frozen? Nothing usable mentioned in this article - nothing but - be scared, be very scared.... oooooooo...

                                                        1. re: applehome

                                                          Good luck trying to morph parasites and worms into a "good" thing. People do get infected thus the FDA guide lines for raw fish consumption.
                                                          There are quite obviously many factors involved and clearly not ALL fish contain parasites or worms. Freezing fish before it is served raw is the law in the US for a reason. If you want to cook your fish R-MR then erring on the side of caution and freezing first in most cases solves the problem.

                                                          "There are more than 50 (parasites and worms) that can be transmitted to people who eat fish raw or undercooked, a handful of which are relatively common and may require surgery to remove"

                                                          That darned Harold McGee as well as the CDC and the FDA might be scaremongers but at least their opinions are based on solid facts.


                                                          1. re: Fritter

                                                            Well, if you've gotten that I'm trying to make worms sound good in these listings or the ones from 3 years ago here, you're obviously dyslexic.

                                                            The concept of life being a matter of risk management is a process of rational thought. It's good to be exposed to the dangers and the warnings, but it's also good to put these things in perspective. Fight or flight may be a life-saving response to danger, but irrational fear is not useful in the long run. Fresh raw fish has been eaten by people for millennia. I would guess that a lot fewer have gotten sick or died from it, as a ratio, than people who have been killed driving cars on our highways, or die from the flu.

                                                            I would love to see a study from McGee, the CDC, or anyone else that discusses the actual number of incidents of dangerous parasites, broken down by geographical and other factors, like those served by trained Itamae, served overseas without the pre-frozen requirements - perhaps an epidemiological study of past incidents in the US - pre and post freezing.

                                                            It's up to each individual to make the decision of whether eating something fresh vs. frozen is worth the risk. But we need to be realistic about what that risk really is (as well as believe that the benefits, are indeed worth the difference). That assessment has nothing to do with the "facts" of how dangerous the parasite is. It has to do with understanding how often and what factors contribute to the numbers.

                                                            1. re: applehome

                                                              "That assessment has nothing to do with the "facts" of how dangerous the parasite is"

                                                              The potential danger has every thing to do with it. If there was no danger associated with worms or parasites neither the FDA or the CDC would bother with the guidelines. If it was not solid science McGee would not state it as a fact.
                                                              Parasites and worms are not some secret mystery. If you want to eat raw fresh fish by all means enjoy but it's not exactly like others who choose to follow food safety guide lines (and common sense) are running around with tin foil hats.
                                                              Speaking of dsylexia perhaps you should read your own post down thread ;

                                                              "Certain fish, like swordfish, are never served raw because they always have parasites. That's why I seriously wonder about folks that serve sashimi and raw fish sushi at home-it's not something we ever did, growing up in Japan "

                                                              Maybe there was a reason for that.
                                                              Surely there are those who specialize in handeling raw fresh fish but this is well beyond the knowledge or ability of the average consumer and there is simply put no need to assume the risk when the prevention is as simple as freezing or cooking properly.

                                                              1. re: Fritter

                                                                Wow. We're arguing and we're not even disagreeing with each other - the arrows are shooting over our heads in different directions. Wooosh. You're not answering my points at all, just coming up with the same old line - it's dangerous and scientists say so. OK, got it. It's dangerous, scientists and science writers, even, say so. So is crossing the street. How does that relate to managing risks?

                                                                What did my quote, about having raw fish at home, have to do with eating pre-frozen raw fish as a whole? I certainly never had pre-frozen fish gorwing up in Japan in the 50's. Aren't you advocating that all raw fish be pre-frozen, whether at home or at a sushiya? Is it your opinion that pre-frozen makes it safe for eating raw at home? Is there any validity to considering that an expert, such as a well-trained Itamae, may be able to contribute other factors, related to the condition of the piece of fish he has carefully inspected, beyond just being pre-frozen, that might account for any number of food safety concerns that go beyond parasites?

                                                                I could take your argument to be that all raw fish must be pre-frozen, otherwise you will get parasites. But that's another missing arrow. Clearly, not all fish are infected with parasites. In fact, the majority is not. So my question continues to be, what's the risk? And your answer continues to be, it's dangerous. Got it.

                                                                1. re: applehome

                                                                  "So my question continues to be, what's the risk?"

                                                                  The "risk" is getting worms or parasites if you don't follow the sanitation guide lines. In most cases that likely means little more than an itchy bum and a course of vermox. Not exactly earth shattering but some cases can be far worse including the potential for liver or lung damage.
                                                                  The risk assessment is rather simple for me based on what I know about the species and where it came from.
                                                                  We pulled in three 130# NC citation Big Eye tuna a few years back and you better believe we had fresh Sashimi that night!
                                                                  Those who do not want to take that risk can easily avoid those complications in most cases by freezing or cooking.

                                                    1. re: kelley2

                                                      The life cycle of Diphyllobothrium latum requires that the feces of infected humans finds its way into the waters the fish live in. But, while the worm is ugly, having the parasite is usually asymptomatic to mild. In an earlier classic study, Jewish grandmothers were found to be at slightly higher risk due to tasting gefilte fish before it was fully cooked.

                                                  2. re: Scargod

                                                    Or one could ask for proof of the implied claim that these could NOT be present, in any situation.

                                                2. re: DanaB

                                                  Good for the Bantu. I'm still not about to eat a worm because A. it disgusts me, and B. I don't have to.

                                                3. Okay...I am never eating fish again. I will never eat raw fish again. Never. I feel sick. I love wild salmon..cooked. I've never found a worm in it..but then I buy fish from Taylor's Market in Sac and it is already boned out.

                                                  I don't like worms. Don't like snails. I do like raw oysters...hope no worms in those! If so, don't tell me.

                                                  I really had no idea about worms in fish. UGH.

                                                  30 Replies
                                                  1. re: Melly

                                                    This is one of the reasons to have sashimi and raw fish sushi items only at the most experienced and well-attended sushiyas. Expert sushiyas train on the overall condition of the fish, including freshness, fat content, cut, and certainly the complete absence of worms and parasites. Certain fish, like swordfish, are never served raw because they always have parasites. That's why I seriously wonder about folks that serve sashimi and raw fish sushi at home - it's not something we ever did, growing up in Japan. And I wonder about the whole American popularization of sushi and the burb sushi crowd, willing to eat anything served by an oriental gentleman - just part of today's Chinese Restaurant menu. As long as they're eating the crazy roll stuff, they're probably safe - nothing truly harmful in avocado's and cream cheese - but would you trust yesterday's egg foo young fryer with a potentially wormy piece of tuna?

                                                    There's no guarantee that getting a piece fileted by the fishmonger will be worm-free. But if you're normally cooking these it's not as critical. Oysters can contain parasites - once again, you need to make sure it's a place with knowledgeable shuckers and high turnover - and don't be the first one there on any given evening.

                                                    Don't give up on raw fish - just make sure your server knows which end is up.

                                                    1. re: applehome

                                                      Thanks. How do you know which place has the freshest fish?

                                                      My son and I were in Portland and ate at a Sushi bar...where the food revolves around and you grab what you want. No one spoke English...and they went thru lots of fish. They used a torch on one dish and you could taste the fuel...ick.

                                                      I worked in the kitchen of a place that cut up FRESH wild salmon...I never once saw a worm...and I watched closely because I wanted to learn. It wasn't a sushi place though. Hey...I don't like worms.

                                                      1. re: Melly

                                                        It has nothing to do with freshness. In fact, if the worm is still alive, the fish is fresh. This isn't like maggots in meat.

                                                        A good market or restaurant will remove worms. Never heard of it in cod but I knew that swordfish was one of the wormiest as are alot of tropical fish.

                                                        I won't mention the market, but a friend's S/O works for a highly regarded Bay Area market where the worms are dilegently removed. However, his stories put me off of swordfish for life. Worms combined with high mercury levels ... who needs it?

                                                        1. re: Melly

                                                          I know that place, Melly...it's down in the Pearl District. The novelty of it detracted me from it as who know how long some of those pieces of sushi have been circling around on there.

                                                          I like to watch my sushi being made fresh.

                                                        2. re: applehome

                                                          Fish in the US must be frozen before becoming sushi. The main reason for this is to kill the parasites. So while your sashimi is raw, it was frozen at one point.

                                                          1. re: mojoeater

                                                            mojo or anyone, can you direct me to where I might find statictics on the prevalence of parasites in salt water fish? I have enjoyed raw albacore, yellowfin and bigeye tuna right out of the water, as well as yellowtail amberjack (my absolute favorite). I have eated a lot of fresh cooked swordfish, all without incident. My only bad fish experience (and it was really bad) was smoked marlin in Mazatlan. Have I just been lucky? This post has me concerned. I was previously of the mindset that fresh water fish are more prone to parasites, and I don't eat salmon that has not been frozen. I knew a bit about the swordfish thing, but have not experienced it. How risky is fresh fish? I bring wasabi and soy on every water excursion of fishing or diving.
                                                            I shared a bluefin tuna in Ocotal, Costa Rica, that a fellow from Ohio caught. (Actually everyone in the hotel had it for Thanksgiving dinner). I would not seek out that guilty pleasure, but why let a perfect fish not be enjoyed?
                                                            But all this talk about worms really creeps me out. When I was a kid in Connecticut, we used worms to catch a fish.

                                                            1. re: Veggo

                                                              Veggo - matic, those worms can't parasitize you and are not dangerous. I've eaten sashimi fresh from the sea in the Indian Ocean off of Kenya, and in SE Asia off of Bali, Lombok, East Timor, the Philippines, and elsewhere. One secret to good sashimi is thin slicing - something that will alert you to any worms.

                                                              1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                I was traumatized at age 4 by the original "Invasion of the Body Snatchers", and for 52 years I have been deathly afraid of being consumed by crawling parasites.
                                                                But I have been marginally mainstreamed; I have had a few jobs, and a few dates, and they keep me sedated and warm.

                                                                1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                  Sam: Seriously, this thread has my SO freaked out, too. We eat rare salmon and tuna all the time at home and in restaurants. I eat trout and cod, though fully cooked.

                                                                  I would think that if there were a real threat from unborn parasites residing in seafood that we would be hearing about it or have heard about it before now. Particularly, threats that exist in the North American areas...
                                                                  Do you know anything about this or can you shed any "light" on it"? I just hate to see weak information or unfounded speculation on this subject and its propagation onto the Internet as fact.

                                                                  1. re: Scargod

                                                                    I don't know anything about fish worms or parasites. I do know that all parasite host relationships have co-evolved over time. Cycles of the wide and terrible world of parasites can include snails and humans or pigs and humans, coughing to get spores to move down into the lungs, passage of eggs or adults or whatever through feces, ... lots of different combos for different parasites at different life stages and hosts, but all carefully genetically programmed. Apparently, worms in fish tissue or fish parasites either don't work with humans or maybe don't have a pathway to get going in humans. But, again, I have no real idea.

                                                                2. re: Veggo

                                                                  Okay, but since I *did* out myself as a science geek in a earlier post, I felt obligated t do some research.
                                                                  According to the following article: The resistance of farmed vs wild Atlantic salmon in Canada to a certain tapeworm is easier to breed into male salmon than female. The search continues Veggo :)
                                                                  Journal Environmental Biology of Fishes
                                                                  Publisher Springer Netherlands
                                                                  ISSN 0378-1909 (Print) 1573-5133 (Online)
                                                                  Issue Volume 84, Number 1 / January, 2009
                                                                  DOI 10.1007/s10641-008-9390-2
                                                                  Pages 69-78
                                                                  Subject Collection Earth and Environmental Science
                                                                  SpringerLink Date Thursday, September 04, 2008

                                                                  1. re: enbell

                                                                    Data on tapeworms (which are a class of flatworms [Platyhelminthes]) are of limited value for the question at hand. Tapeworms live only in the gut, so unless someone is eating fish intestines (and yes, I'm sure somewhere in this wide world they're considered a delicacy - but not anywhere around here) they're not going to come into contact with them, dead or alive. The worms living in the flesh are most likely roundworms, which are in an entirely different phylum (Nematoda)

                                                                    1. re: FlyFish

                                                                      Gottcha, thank you. I'm still looking at some 'Nature' artices.

                                                                      1. re: FlyFish

                                                                        not true. The intestinal tapeworms release what are called "graavid proglottids" which are basically body segments that contain eggs. The proglottids are passed in the feces. The proglottids in the feces are then ingested by the intermediate host (lets says a pig or a fish) in which they encyst in the muscle tissue/flesh. Then the IH flesh is eaten by the direct host (carnivore, human). The DH develops the intestinal tapeworm and the cycle continues.

                                                                    2. re: Veggo


                                                                      There are links to tables at the bottom which indicate which potential hazards each fish has, both biological and chemical.

                                                                      1. re: mojoeater

                                                                        This is good information, with the links. Perhaps I was thinking of Alan Barnes when I asked Sam Fujisaka what he knew about parasites in fish. Somebody on here is or was in the food safety business. I just don't have the time to sift through all this data, and even if did, would I spot the crucial information if it were to slap me in the face like a mackerel?
                                                                        Some of what I think I am understanding from my reading is that if fish is frozen properly (as much processed fish is), then all is killed. Cooking usually takes care of most of the parasites "in fresh fish". That is where I get lost because it seems that 140F is not enough to kill everything that could possibly be in a fresh, unfrozen fish. Are we talking cysts that can resist normal cooking temperatures that are commonly found in fish in North America? As my SO said,"my Dad and I caught salmon and other fish off the coast of British Columbia from Vancouver up to Campbell River, and we never saw worms in fish!"

                                                                        1. re: Scargod

                                                                          Scargod, I sincerely hope you are right about the freezing. Have some TJ's vacuum-sealed frozen cod in the freezer that I eyed this morning, then thought of this thread and threw it back into the deep freezer. Picked out Turkey Thighs instead... please don't anybody tell me about Turkey parasites... in some cases ignorance is bliss! :-)

                                                                          1. re: ideabaker

                                                                            The hormones and antibiotics in the turkey are far worse than some worms in a fish.

                                                                            1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                              Passadumkeg, how did I know that you or someone else would be back with the good news on poultry? :-) If it helps, I plan to overcook the heck out of it, just in case ;-).

                                                                              1. re: ideabaker

                                                                                I thought that hormones aren't allowed in poultry in the US.

                                                                                1. re: Humbucker

                                                                                  Who knows what evil lurks in the thighs of Turks?????

                                                                                  Only The Corporation knows! (And that scares the worms out of me!)

                                                                                  1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                    Ha ha ha ha... I had an uneventful evening of turkey thighs with a butter/garlic/sage and parsley rub underneath the skin, and a thick lemon slice slid under there for good measure, then seasoned all over with spices, surrounded by baby bellas, coarsely chopped red and yellow bell peppers, dried pitted prunes, dried apricots, pitted Kalamata olives, sweet onions (as a base underneath those big thighs) and about a half cup of white wine, all tied up in a pierced cooking bag and baked at 450 degrees F for thirty minutes, finished up at 350 F for another thirty. Surprisingly delicious and worm/parasite free (at least my belly thinks so this far... I am alive to make this post). Served with brown rice (for me) and pasta (for my friends who insist on pasta with every meal...).

                                                                                    As for the cod, I am still eyeing it suspiciously as Monday's potential supper...

                                                                                    p.s. Like your impromptu poetry about the evil "lurks" in the thighs of "Turks" :-).

                                                                                    1. re: ideabaker

                                                                                      Ha ha ha ha... I had an uneventful evening of turkey thighs with a butter/garlic/sage and parsley rub underneath the skin, with a thick lemon slice slid under there for good measure, then seasoned all over with spices, surrounded by baby bellas, dried pitted prunes, dried apricots, olives, sweet onions (underneath those big thighs) and about a half cup of white wine, all tied up in a cooking bag and done at 450 degrees F for thirty minutes, finished up at 350 F for another thirty. Served with brown rice (for me) and pasta (for my friends who insist on pasta with every meal...). As we sat down and people began to cut into the turkey thihghs, GIANT TAPEWORMS started crawling and struggling out of the flesh - and then started wiggling and sort of lunging towards the now screaming mouths of each of the guests. I cleared the room, got my shotgun, and pumped 50 rounds of 12 guage OO buckshot into what had just been a finely set table. We're alive but in shock!

                                                                                      | Permalink | Report | Reply

                                                                                      1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                        Sam, you little teaser you... I am from TX and would only require one round to clear the room of tapeworms... and guests :-).

                                                                                        1. re: ideabaker

                                                                                          We're talking about 35 three foot long x six inches wide tape worms, all quick and pissed off, with the ability to fly short distances.

                                                                                          Just trying to get you to stick to the thread's story line, "Asinine fear of food"!

                                                                                        2. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                          Sam, you have to watch out that the whites of your eyes don't turn blue wit dem big worms.

                                                                              2. re: ideabaker

                                                                                You're okay, I've only ever learned about 1 poultry parasite and I don't think you need to worry about it. :)

                                                                      2. re: applehome

                                                                        I believe that tuna, alone among salt water fish, never harbors parasites harmful to humans.

                                                                      3. re: Melly

                                                                        I find it a bit odd that someone who eats raw oysters would find worms revolting ...

                                                                        1. re: ipse dixit

                                                                          I don't find it odd at all. It's probably a cultural thing. It is commonplace for many people to enjoy raw oysters. It is not so commonplace in western culture to enjoy worms...alive or dead.

                                                                      4. Will Owen's response is right on. This happens in wild caught fish. We would catch Grouper in FL and when cleaning them, we would look for the worms in the meat and cut them out. They would look almost like grains of rice in the meat. Not only in bottom feeders, but predatory fish. I am sure we've missed a few, but would rather not think about it. :)

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: marycarol

                                                                          I have caught and cleaned hundreds of speckled trout, (spotted sea trout.) Most have what Texas Parks and Wildlife call parasites, and they, along with Louisiana officials, assure they are harmless. They can be cooked or removed. I choose to remove, my wife doesn't even know they exist, but that fish is so good I'm sure she wouldn't mind, I don't. I have also cleaned large amounts of redfish and flounder, and have never found them in these fish. Ironically, redfish and flounder would be considered more bottom feeders, redfish on crabs, and flounder buried in the sand, an ambush feeder. I have never seen a live "worm" in the trout, even though I have cleaned fish that was still alive, or dead for mere minutes, never more that eight hours.

                                                                        2. I used to have a client who was a chef. She warned me of fish in cod and scrod! I never order fish and chips anymore..... So sad because I do like it. She gave me a tip though. Rake the fish with a fork! The fish will come to the top and wiggle out if there are any. I did this once and was TOTALLY grossed out because they did come up! I didn't eat it, but my ex-boyfriend did. He didn't seem to care......

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. There are all sorts of attachments on all fish - wild or farmed, fresh or salt water.

                                                                            I don't eat Cod as a "home meal" simply because I'm inland and also because I haven't gotten around to it yet.

                                                                            Our Maritimer friends, particularly Newfoundlanders, won't eat anything but Cod from waters off northern Newfoundland and Labrador because everything southwards is wormy they say.

                                                                            1. I live on the shore of Georgian Bay and often fish for wild salmon and rainbow trout. You haven't lived until you land a salmon with a lampry eel attached to it. Ugliest suckers on earth. Put you off supper that night for sure.

                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. re: billieboy

                                                                                ugh, those are digusting. I had to learn about them for my evolutionary biology class and I could live a full, happy life and never see another one of those again.

                                                                              2. This topic made me feel slightly queasy.

                                                                                *sigh* but I guess if I ever /do/ find a worm, I'll freak out less.

                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                1. re: Soop

                                                                                  Most of the fish that you find in the supermarket is picked up at the docks by a secondary seller. The fillets are either cut on the boats or at the dock and them packed to go to market. I have been to the fish stalls at the docks and watched the fillet process, once the fillets are cut they get passed over a strong light to find the worms which are then removed using needle nose pliers, this happens all day long. Some of the parasitic creatures are bound to be missed and end up on the pile of ice at your local market. These were cod/scrod processing lines by the way. I have never seen worms in farmed salmon.

                                                                                  1. re: jscott65

                                                                                    Not sure how true it is, but I've read that one of the times when farmed salmon is preferable to wild is for sushi/sashimi/lightly-cured lox because it's less likely to have worms or other parasites in the flesh.

                                                                                2. My youngest son refuses to eat some fish based on work experience at a local fish market where he would be cutting big filets up to put into the case...cod is one of the fish he refuses to eat--he has seen pinworms in the fish. One time, he was cutting up a large swordfish and a big borer worm came out...he said he dropped his knife! Swords are bottom-feeders as others here have also pointed out. My oldest son says "What's the big deal? When you cook the fillets, they die." Heh! Some can deal with it better, I guess. It's a shame, though; cod is one of the wild-caught "good guys" last time I checked and very good for you.

                                                                                  1. A friend of mine was GM at Legal's and reported that these worms are a big challenge for their kitchens. They are not, however, a marker of freshness or quality. Even the most experienced fish monger can have trouble extracting them all. Thus it was Legal's policy not to treat them as a refundable issue if a customer happened upon one.

                                                                                    Personally, I've never encountered a fish worm(though DH does all the fish cooking around here and chances are he'd never tell me if he found them).

                                                                                    1. I wonder, does deep frying-- as in fish and chips-- cook the fish thoroughly enough to eradicate the worms?

                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                      1. re: GSM

                                                                                        won't eridicate them, but will kill them; my favorite part of Steamed oysters are the little oyster crabs; I once toured a 'ketchup' factory; not for the squeemish! if you don't care for 'parts and pieces' in your food. Steam renders 'hitch-hikers' dead as yesterdays mackeral, but they're still there. KinNC

                                                                                      2. As many have mentioned worms are very common in fish. There is a difference in sushi/sashimi grade fish which is almost always frozen - not fresh. The freezing kills the parasites (worms).

                                                                                        All that high-end bluefin sashimi grade tuna? Frozen solid as a rock in a glacier.

                                                                                        In fact, if you get to talking with a reputable and good sushi chef ask them about worm holes in fish. They are very common. The chef will cut out/cut away from the worm holes, but they are there. The folks who are scarred for life and will never eat fish again, well that's your own choice, not a smart one, but it is your choice, but do know that it is completely normal.

                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: HaagenDazs

                                                                                          I enjoy swordfish and tuna (not bluefin) and have for my 56 years, and I often eat it fresh, never frozen. I didn't know that cod are also susceptible to parasitic worms. Perhaps I have been just lucky that I have not yet encountered a worm. I think that would be a game-changer for me. Curious how we all have different neuroses. But I can eat oysters forever.
                                                                                          P.S. HD, I hope we are on a more even keel. Veg

                                                                                          1. re: Veggo

                                                                                            As far as I know, all fish are subject to parasitic things whether it be worms or otherwise. You can eat fish raw and fresh out of the water if you want, I was just saying that typically the true sushi grade fish is all pre-frozen to eliminate any wiggly creatures emerging on the diner's plate! If I were eating sushi in say... Kansas City, that's probably a good thing!

                                                                                            I've never had worms in fish either, but I've had sushi chefs show me worm holes in whole sides of tuna before. It's nothing significant, but they are there often enough.

                                                                                        2. I don't eat a lot of fish, but I have to think that there are no worms in bacala. Certainly not live ones.

                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: yayadave

                                                                                            Well think about it yayadave. If freezing kills parasites like worms, don't you think that salting fish to the point that it has turned into stiff, dried boards will kill the parasites? After all, salting meats (see: hams from numerous countries around the world) is one of the oldest preservation methods known to man.

                                                                                            I will say with certainty that the fish used for bacalau is no better quality than any other cod and the likelihood of it having worms at any point is just the same as any other fish.

                                                                                            1. re: HaagenDazs

                                                                                              I knew there would be someone along who knows about this stuff. On the other hand, any worms that were present in the cod would become dried and salted worms in the bacala. Right?

                                                                                              1. re: yayadave

                                                                                                Yeah - I'm just saying that in the event there is a worm, there's no way it could survive the salting process. If bacteria can't survive, how could a worm have any chance?

                                                                                                Mmmm, mummified worms... ;-)

                                                                                          2. Many of the matters raised here are covered by this U.S, FDA document:


                                                                                            After coming across the document some time ago I now: keep my fish alive as long as possible; dress it as quickly as possible; wash it in tap water at every stage possible; eat as quickly as possible; freeze the remainder as quickly as possible; and always cook my fish to a very moist, flaky texture - just past opaque at least. When smoking, brine heavily for 24 hours then smoke long (5-6 hours) and bring to 150*F internal.

                                                                                            1. I knew I shouldn't have opened this thread. No worms..... Nooooooooooooo.
                                                                                              I've never seen any. Have eaten raw, fried, boiled, baked, grilled all my life.
                                                                                              No.............! I'm done for.

                                                                                              8 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: Gio

                                                                                                Same here, I don't eat other meats except fish and I've eaten it in tons of ways and so many different kinds and in so many different countries and I NEVER saw a worm, ever.

                                                                                                But this thread scared me, no doubt.

                                                                                                1. re: BamiaWruz

                                                                                                  Yes. This thread frightened me too. Especially as we had roasted pollock in fresh salsa for Wednesday night dinner. Two martinis helped me forget...

                                                                                                  I hope Sam the Man can shed some light on this subject as Scargod above asks him to.

                                                                                                  1. re: Gio

                                                                                                    I was just wondering about what you have mentioned. Does this effect other white fish as you mentioned?

                                                                                                    1. re: yayadave

                                                                                                      It probably affects most of what I eat.....at night, that is.

                                                                                                    2. re: Gio

                                                                                                      That reminds me of a report I heard on NPR a few years ago to the effect that drinking alcohol when eating seafood will kill any parasites that may be present - but only if the drink contains at least 10% alcohol by volume, so all you beer drinkers are out of luck!

                                                                                                      1. re: BobB

                                                                                                        Then again, it may have only referred to toxins in raw oysters, I don't remember all the details.

                                                                                                        1. re: BobB

                                                                                                          That's so funny, I always thought that about alcohol (raw shellfish, or really any questionable food) I think maybe my mother always claimed it, but sometimes she said things as jokes, and I believed her. It seems to be true though, at least in my experience.

                                                                                                          1. re: BobB

                                                                                                            You don't have to remember the details. A couple of martinis before - or maybe during the meal - probably cancels all the unwanted deliciously....

                                                                                                  2. I found a worm in the Pacific "true cod" from Costco the other day; the girl at the return counter really freaked out when I pointed it out as the reason for the return.

                                                                                                    I imagine that given the odds, I've probably eaten worms in fish a number of times, hopefully well-cooked, so I'll continue to do so....

                                                                                                    1. Stay on the soapbox! You are not alone. I can no longer go back to commercial chicken - it tastes 'off' to me now, and the steroidal size of them is scary in its own right. I am much more concerned about limiting my exposure to hormones and antiobiotics than worms in fish. Not that I like to see worms in my fish, mind you. But that's what dim lighting is for.

                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                      1. re: Cachetes

                                                                                                        I drive half way across Houston, (and no there are no cows, oil wells, or deserts, just an extremely large city,} to get bone in, skin on chicken breasts that do not appear as though a plastic surgeon has put implants in the chicken.

                                                                                                      2. If this thread covers more ground we'll be left with nothing in our own minds safe to eat, won't we? I don't think I'd find anything from garden, pasture or water that doesn't carrying something that we haven't digested over time.

                                                                                                        I posted a document dealing in fish infestations with misgivings because it's pretty scary if you don't accept that its strictures have a lot of headroom built into them. Probably a mistake. I use it only for general directional guidance in preparing my own fish because smoking them is not something my family did.

                                                                                                        If we observe the simple aspects of hygiene and safe handling taught us, what's there to fear?

                                                                                                        1. I've been thinking about this a bit. I know....dangerous...Would not our stomach acid kill any little critters?
                                                                                                          Also, from what I understand, although I am not an expert, Kosher does not permit the eating of insects hence no artichokes etc. Would this also affect the eating of fish?

                                                                                                          6 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: billieboy

                                                                                                            Artichokes?? Insects in artichokes? I had no idea. Artichokes are an Italian staple.....

                                                                                                            1. re: Gio

                                                                                                              Yeah and cauliflower too. Any vegetable with little crevices they can crawl into and make themselves at home.

                                                                                                              1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                And fried artichokes are one of the classic dishes from Roman Jewish cuisine. Clearly kosher does not forbid eating them, nor does it forbid the eating of fish (sheesh!).

                                                                                                                1. re: tmso

                                                                                                                  Obviously my information was wrong. Sorry. I do remember reading it somewhere. If it was on the internet, it must be true :)

                                                                                                                  1. re: tmso

                                                                                                                    Further examination shows that I am partially right. It is only if they are perfectly cleaned that they are allowed. How you could clean a cauliflower perfectly is beyond me, but it must be possible as they are sold as such. Scallions are also on the list because the insects crawl into the tubular portion.
                                                                                                                    The fish remark was meant as both humour and to give worry-warts something else to worry about. :)

                                                                                                              2. This thread makes me feel like the whole world is filthy and there is no place to hide. Someone, please, say it ain't so.

                                                                                                                8 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                  Veggo, you could hide in the clean-room of some lab and eat freeze-dried, vaccuum-sealed astronaut food or MREs! *grins*

                                                                                                                  1. re: tracylee

                                                                                                                    tracylee, if that's my best option, I will eat oysters.
                                                                                                                    In my life experiences, I have had bad clams, bad business partners, bad lady-friends, but I have never had a bad oyster.

                                                                                                                    1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                      Find out what filth lives in your eye lashes. You can run but you can't hid.

                                                                                                                      EVERYONE! RELAX AND ENJOY LIFE. WAKE UP EVERY MORNING AND BE GLAD YOU ARE ALIVE AND REMEMBER THOSE DEAR TO YOU WHO ARE NOT. EAT DRINK AND BE MERRY.
                                                                                                                      DON'T SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF. THAT'S AN ORDER.

                                                                                                                      Commander Passadumkeg and HIS Lost Planet Airmen.

                                                                                                                      1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                        I worry about Veggo... but you, Commander Cody Passadumkeg have finally made some sense.
                                                                                                                        I have had the bad oysters and it hasn't stopped me from continuing to enjoy them. I've been scared by people telling me I could die after eating oysters in a supposed red tide period (turns out it wasn't). I have had the (dead), worms in my fish and it hasn't killed me. My leftovers haven't killed me/us.
                                                                                                                        About the only thing that came close was motorcycles. I've literally had a mouthful of handlebar.

                                                                                                                        1. re: Scargod

                                                                                                                          Christ! I must be getting sane. I'm putting up my BSA (an old British motorcycle for the uninformed) for sale this spring. Life is too good.

                                                                                                                          Tex, what cracks me up is this fear of the unknown. Mass panic, group psychosis, health schizophrenia, etc. adnauseam in American society. We live in such an unhealthy society in sooo many ways and to be so frightened of a few friggin' worms is ridiculous. I wonder how many of these same folks are this Anthony Boudain (sp.?) dude fans?
                                                                                                                          Ya know, I think everyone's crazy but you and me and I sometimes wonder about....
                                                                                                                          Gotta go cook some chile rellanos and pintos and eggs for brekkie.

                                                                                                                          1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                            Hey, go put yourself on a cleansing diet (with no disrespect meant, cumui).

                                                                                                                            1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                                                              Can I add rum to the lemon juice and honey?

                                                                                                                              Can't I get hyperbolic at the weirdness of American society every now and then?

                                                                                                                              Sorry, Sam, I gotta go eat some peanut butter. God, is nothing Holy????

                                                                                                                            2. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                              I don't give a dam' about the health factor, Pass. It's the ick factor that does me in.

                                                                                                                  2. An old boyfriend worked in a hotel kitchen in Hawaii. He said that after cleaning fish (don't remember what variety) they would sometimes have worm races across the cutting boards.

                                                                                                                    5 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: Louise

                                                                                                                      Americans getting paid for watching worms race? Small wonder Toyota has eclipsed General Motors...:)

                                                                                                                      1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                        Yes, the Japanese would take the worms and serve them on rice and make some money! We get angst.

                                                                                                                        1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                          Oh for goodness sake. I've lived this long without any major disruption in the pipes. If what I've been eating lo these many years has not done me in so far.... what isn't broke I'm not fixin'.

                                                                                                                          1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                            Sanity at last. Join Scargod and me in a fish fry w/ sushi apps!

                                                                                                                            1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                              Hah.... I'm there. Thanx! BTW: I Love to fish.....

                                                                                                                    2. ..."Of each new-hatched, unfledged comrade. Beware"...

                                                                                                                      The only line in the soliloquy that breaks form and punctuation, and I can't see any other purpose but addressing this thread.

                                                                                                                      1. I think you'd be hard pressed to find anyone who has ever had to clean/prep swordfish that is willing to eat it. Most chef's I know would never eat it.

                                                                                                                        1. At least they were just worms and didn't look like this:

                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                          1. re: E Eto

                                                                                                                            Looks like an Andrew Zimmern promo :)

                                                                                                                          2. I would put them on a hook and try to catch a haddock.

                                                                                                                            1. Well if anyone wants to read up, some CDC mention was made of this book being fairly exhaustive. Writing's not bad, and there are some pictures:

                                                                                                                              Food-borne Parasitic Zoonoses
                                                                                                                              By K. Darwin Murrell, Bernard Fried

                                                                                                                              Blurb excerpt:
                                                                                                                              The World Health Organization (WHO) has estimated that the number of people currently infected with food borne trematodes alone exceeds 41 million, but worldwide the number of people at risk, including those in developed countries, is 750 million. The increasing recognition of the public health significance of these zoonoses, especially their complicated epidemiologies, and their links to poverty, intensification of agriculture, environmental degradation, and lack of tools for control- has been welcome. However, the development of priorities for a national public health system is often a competitive exercise, and the argument for devoting appropriate attention and resources to foodborne parasitic zoonoses is generally handicapped by the lack of good health and economic impact data.


                                                                                                                              I notice that no mention was made in the book description of urban/suburban foodie adventurism.

                                                                                                                              1. We indeed use worms to catch fish, but I admit I stopped eating swordfish after hearing how prevalent worms were in them.

                                                                                                                                Was wary of pork after learning about trichinosis. Then pork was the safe meat after the mad cow scare. I did read years ago about a young boy raised kosher getting infected with a pork parasite because his nanny was a pork eater.

                                                                                                                                I don't eat raw fish, raw meat or undercooked either. If that duck breast is dripping blood, cook it for longer please. Although I find myself liking my steaks juicier these days.

                                                                                                                                Raw oysters can harbor the vibrio bacterium, which is uncomfortable and sometimes fatal.

                                                                                                                                If your state still allows you to use leaded bullets, please remove them before serving the venison or pheasant to your guests.

                                                                                                                                1. I have to say this thread was really a buzzkill for my trip to the Korean supermarket today!

                                                                                                                                  1. Whoah this thread makes me so glad I became a vegetarian. I used to love sushi.

                                                                                                                                    Speaking of which, I melded my love of sushi and gross stuff and wrote a paper on the anasakid worm, a fairly common nematode that lives in fish. I wrote it because I wanted to know how much worm protein I was getting along with dinner. Turns out even if you do get infected, your gut is strong enough to kill the lil critters and so it's not a problem. But that doesn't mean some nastier pathogen in the fish won't kill you instead. Just sayin.

                                                                                                                                    1. All this talk is getting me interested in genuine absinthe.

                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                        1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                                          I recall reading a quote from some point in history where the author was extolling the virtues of Stilton cheese and stated the mites and maggots were so thick you had to scrap them off the get a slice of the ripe cheese.

                                                                                                                                      1. So back to worms in cod. I learned from my Maine-er relatives long ago fish has worms. Especially Cod. You hold the skinned fish up infront of a strong light source...I take the shade off of a lamp that has a 100W bulb...and pass it back and forth. The worms are usually light colored and you won't see them if you don't do this. But when you do it, you will see a dark line or circle that doesn't look like the normal veining of the fish. Stick the tip of a sharp knife in and cut it out. You're done. Cook it and enjoy it. You don't need to throw it away. You can be darned sure that they don't have someone "candeling" the fish in restaurant kitchens. My husband's business partner brings us fresh caught cod a lot. It almost ALWAYS has some worms in it. I've also seen them in smelts and snapper. I would NEVER eat raw fish of any kind. That so many people do amazes me.

                                                                                                                                        13 Replies
                                                                                                                                        1. re: Toby Winter

                                                                                                                                          Toby, welcome to Chowhound, but I'd rather eat raw fish w/ noninfectious worms than hot dogs or Spam or even a super processed Pop Tart. To each his own.
                                                                                                                                          Sixty-two and worming right along.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                                            But what if it's a tapeworm? I've heard of them showing up in cod. Tuna is the one fish I know that doesn't host worms, and that's the one I prefer rare.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                              I do need to lose weight. I think it is mentioned above that the tape worm does not live in cod flesh. I've caught some very wormy cod; pick & fry. I've had parasited before both in Nam and in Bolivia. The whole family would get tested before returning back to the States from Bolivia and we made it a game to see who had the greatest infection and the greatest diversity of parasites. As I've said before, I'm more worried about the foods sold in our grocery stores. Are you aware that our beef and poultry are banned in Europe and Japan? That is scary, not a few worms.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                                                I've heard of tapeworms in cod, but it is anecdotal. I'll leave that to the marine biologists if there are any here. The easy weight loss thing is tempting though....

                                                                                                                                                1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                  Fish tapeworm (Dibothriocephalus latus) can infect humans. Fertilized eggs pass from host in feces in water; hatch into larva; are eaten by tiny crustaceans that are eaten by fish. The larva encysts in fish muscle tissue; but does not become an adult (i.e., is not one of the worms you see by candling). When the fish is eaten, the larva attaches to your intestine and develops into an adult. Fish hosts include trout, salmon, pike, and perch.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                                                                                      But I bet you haven't stopped eating fish as a result, even the trout, salmon, pike, and perch. Or am I wrong?

                                                                                                                                                      Life is full of risks. This is nothing new - Proverbs 26:13. Now that I have invoked scripture, I am certain to be struck dead. Farewell!

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                                                                                        Are you suggesting or saying that we can see each and all worms and larvae if we candle the fish?
                                                                                                                                                        I just returned from BC and we caught some nice lake trout, including rainbow and Kokanee. I may be catching salmon, as well, since "landlocked" salmon are supposed to be in the lake.
                                                                                                                                                        While our trout were grilled, and cooked through, I would like to eat trout or salmon sashimi. Will the light do the trick?

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Scargod

                                                                                                                                                          Candling will not show you any fish tapeworm cysts. They're waiting for your intenstines to become adults. Any worms you find will be some other type of worm.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                                                                                            So, in my specific instance, it would pay for me to know whether freshwater fish, like trout or salmon, are prone to tapeworms in BC or the area where we have a cabin? I can't freeze them (myself), to a low enough temperature to kill cysts, can I?

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Scargod

                                                                                                                                                              Right. Just ask around. I'd personally just go ahead and eat em ... as you know.

                                                                                                                                                      2. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                        Since I was a kid, the only tape worms I ever found in fish were in the intestinal tract, not in the muscle. Same for most other critters.

                                                                                                                                              2. ...I'm not easily grossed out, but worms crawling around my meat? (worms in my veggies are better...I mean, they were probably crawling all over it while it was growing anyway, so as long as I wash them out before I cook them, I'm fine.)

                                                                                                                                                I dunno. I suppose if it's not a sign of bad meat, it's fine. As long as you aren't undercooking your fish, of course! I wouldn't try sashimi or smoked salmon with wormy fish!!



                                                                                                                                                4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                1. re: Takat

                                                                                                                                                  Just found a nice looking roundworm in my cod..thankfully in the last few bites. It was killed by cooking, but the body still has that kind of rigid flexibility that makes it move after I move it, which makes me remember that it was once wriggling through my meal.
                                                                                                                                                  I will definitely continue to patronize the fish market I bought it in, it was a whole fish I bought that they filleted for me. I can't fault them for not seeing it. I always buy sashimi grade fluke from this place, which they cut for me and I eat at home. I am concerned by a few things...if fluke is a bottom feeder too, shouldn't it have loads of worms as well?
                                                                                                                                                  Also, I consume all my fish R-MR, or as sashimi. If I was infected with these worms or other parasites,wouldn't there be dramatic symptoms? What would they be? Also, what tests can people take to look for these parasites?

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: ElizaGrant

                                                                                                                                                    Visible worms will only gross you out, they will not cause an infection because they don't stand even a slim chance of surviving through your digestive track. Sam makes reference to Fish Tapeworm above, but this critter "hatches" from cysts in the fish tissue that are generally undetectable with your naked eye.

                                                                                                                                                    Visible worms, are gross as they are, will only contribute to protein.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: FullPalate

                                                                                                                                                      Just Great, you all are really grossing me out. I have never found worms in my fish that i recall.I use mainly canned tuna and canned salmon in cooking.The frozen tilapia i buy in a bag from Walmart from a company like Seapack or whoever,I bake usually at 350 or375 degress and fo almost an hour. Was going to make some dover sole for dinner, but not tonight ,ya turned me off it.Think I'll have lamb maybe in stead, or italian Chicken patties from Morningstar Farms,with pasta or rice instead.
                                                                                                                                                      Only rare fish i eat is sashimi or sushi.Haven't gotten sick from that. Parents always cooked the food well.None of us kids ever had tapeworms from mama's cooking,nor my dad's either.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: HollyDolly

                                                                                                                                                        I don't think you have much to fear from canned tuna or frozen tilapia. Can't vouch for the worm-freeness of canned salmon, sashimi and sushi, however.

                                                                                                                                                2. The only worms I have ever found in fish were some in a bass we caught in our lake/pond one afternoon a few years ago. None of the other fish we caught that day had any. I looked it up online, and found out they weren't harmful, but none of us wanted to eat the worms. That bass became fish food and we ate the others.

                                                                                                                                                  1. I NEVER eat cod or any fish described as Scrod which I believe is COD in a restaurant . There is no fish called Scrod or Shrod to my knowledge. I don't believe any restaurant is going to take the time to look for worms in their fish the way I do in my own kitchen. I was told by my Maine relatives from the time I was young that Cod was "very wormy". Nowadays, a friend brings me fresh caught Cod several times in the summer and I NEVER find a piece that doesn't have worms in it. That's right NEVER. But they are easy to remove. You take the shade off a lamp with a good strong light bulb in it. At least 100 watts, and hold the fish close up in front of the bulb looking closely for any outline in a circle shape. Hold it this way and that because if you are not holding it right, it might just look like a line about 1/4 inch long - a circle but lying flat to your view. Then just cut the area away. I typically find about 2 worms in each fillet. I don't let it bother me even though I am the squeamish type.

                                                                                                                                                    1. They may seem harmless, but unless they are cooked to the right temperature they could be passed to you. These are not vegetarian worms, they are PARASITIC, that is, they live off the body of the their host. If the eggs get into your system then guess what?! This is NOT your garden variety type worm. Nor one you might see cruising through your salad, those are harmless.

                                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                      1. re: mistimtn

                                                                                                                                                        Here is what Cape Ann Fresh Catch has to say about worms. CAFC is a CSF, the fish version of a CSA:

                                                                                                                                                        Q: Why are there sometimes worms in the seafood?
                                                                                                                                                        A: Worms are a natural occurrence in fish, just as insects are to fruits and vegetables. You don't see them on fish you get from supermarkets, etc. because by the time they get there they've either already been removed or the freezing and storage process has killed the worms. So in an odd way, the worms are a sign that you are getting fresh fish - much like the worms on the broccoli we pick from our gardens or the poop on farm fresh eggs.

                                                                                                                                                        Fish become affected when they eat some small crustaceans. Thorough cooking of fish (to an internal temperature or 140’F- fish will flake when poked with a fork and has lost it’s translucent color) renders these parasites totally harmless. Other methods to do this include hard-salting fish (curing) or freezing for 24 hours.

                                                                                                                                                        If you want to remove worms prior to cooking, start by holding your fillet up to a light source (sun, light bulb.) This is called candling. In cod or monkfish worms will look like dark round spots, size of 1/4" button. In flat fish they appear as white spots.

                                                                                                                                                        1. im a body builder, and i eat a lot of fish about 16-30 oz every day every day depending on time of year. cod is notorius for having those tiny pinkish red worms in it, i have baught frozen, fresh, farmed, wild caught, different vendors, everywhere has worms. the best way imo to deal with it is to hold it up to a light and look for the dark spots then cut them out with a sharp filet knife. if you dont like the experience tho (understandable i know worms are gross), pollock is very similar in taste and texture, it just comes in smaller more narrow filets.

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