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Aug 12, 2008 09:41 AM

Parasites in Fish [Split from Ontario board]

[Split from


Farmed salmon (mainly the Atlantic salmon species) has to go through strict health and safety regulations, and that is probably why it is used in sushi or other raw recipes. However, salmon are mainly saltwater fish (except in Lake Ontario), and only spawn in fresh water, which farmed salmon don't do. Trout are mainly fresh water with a few small exceptions, and are farmed in fresh water. Fish in any type of water can have parasites and that is why medications are often used in farmed fish.

An important part of eating raw fish is that it has been visually examined for parasites. I have caught wild trout that had worms in their guts, not their flesh. I have also caught wild trout without any signs of parasites from pristine waters and had the best tasting sushi ever. Some people looked at me as if I were crazy, but I'm still here and healthy!

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  1. Thank you both, that makes sense.
    I made salmon gravlax this weekend with organic wild salmon so I think I'll continue living on the edge. ; )

    6 Replies
    1. re: Mila

      Curing with salt will kill the parasites, I believe.

      1. re: Teep

        Curing with salt also cooks the fish! :P

        1. re: Teep

          Tapeworm can live in pickled herring which is salt cured.

          1. re: jayt90

            whenever i've read recipes for cured salmon they suggest to freeze the fillet first before beginning the curing process to take care of the parasites. so no, i don't believe teep may be correct on this one.

            though, my growing understanding is that a simple kitchen freezer may not even get the kind of freeze necessary to kill parasites either as a deep freeze may be needed. it's all such an inexact science sometimes.

            1. re: pinstripeprincess

              Lots of replies to my question!

              I imagine that there is a risk because it's raw, but I think I'm willing to take the chance occasionally.


              1. re: SusanB

                i just buy fillets from tnt and eat it up raw when i'm doing up a quickie at home sushi... no visuals on things that shouldn't be in my fish and no problems either.

        1. Just thought of something, some parasites do not cause noticeable symptoms, so you may not even know you have them.

          Paranoid? me? :-)

          1. Does anyone know what internal temp. will kill the parasites?
            I'm guessing broiled is OK, but seared or sous vide is suspect.