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Mar 15, 2010 08:45 AM

Little Worms in Cod?

So the cod from my fish share this week had some little worms in it. I thought I had pulled them all out but after lovingly making cod cakes yesterday I found two more little worms on the plate next to said cod cakes and just couldn't bring myself to eat any. Am I crazy / unneccessarily squeamish???

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  1. Welp, worms in fish are common...swordfish being a typical worm farm. If you can see the worms they aren't typically parasitic but very off-putting. The worms die at high heat, as do parasitic worms but I urge you to do a little research to educate yourself as there a re quite a few parasites that infest/infect food items.
    The choice whether you want to eat them is yours from a squeamish standpoint but if you eat fish with ANY regularity, you have doubtlessly eaten worms. I'm sure most people wouldn't voluntarily ingest them but we tend to ignore the things we can't obviously see.

    My husband (a microbiologist) and I (a chef) have discussions at length about these types of things and, believe me, we have very different points of view on food in-general. He's a well-done meat kinda guy & I am a med-rare. Its all in the comfort level.
    But of course, I'm always right.

    1. Worms in cod, eh?

      No more cod for da' Khan.

      14 Replies
      1. re: Perilagu Khan

        T'were ever thus. I worked in a fish and chips shop when I was at UCB a good while ago and the owner was forever removing them from the planks of frozeen Icelandic cod we used. Little round things. Yuk. Still ate/eat the fish, though!

        1. re: buttertart

          You're a braver "man" than me, Gunga Din.

          If it has a rep for harboring worms, then I'm quitsville. And if that means I have to forego all fish, so be it.

          Incidentally, are worms more of a problem with ocean fish, or are they present in freshwater fish as well? I'd really hate to give up trout, catfish and salmon.

            1. re: buttertart

              Well, we need to clear this up. Are there any worm-resistent fish?

              1. re: Perilagu Khan

                If you weren't squeamish before, then definitely do NOT read this.


                1. re: ipsedixit

                  Beginning to sound like I'm going to give up fish. And that blows rocks.

                  1. re: ipsedixit

                    The photos with that article have nothing to do with sushi. completely unrelated to eating raw fish.


                    1. re: ipsedixit

                      Oh, that was great. If you wanted to turn off someone to eating fish for good those pictures could do it. Funny, under the picture of the maggot filled brain is the video to make sushi.

                      This information doesn't bother me at all. Nothing new here.

                    2. re: Perilagu Khan

                      There are fish that are less likely to have parasites...or could be, they're harder to see.

                      We've caught fish here in Florida, both fresh and salt species, for a very long time Ninety nine percent of the time the flesh is worm-free. The flesh is all that matters to me - external parasites or intestinal parasites are irrelevant.

                      Some of the species most likely to have a few worms in the flesh are speckled (sea) trout, amberjack and red grouper. Have not found worms in tuna, gag grouper or dolphin (the fish), flounder or most of the smaller snappers.

                      Never seen a parasite move, let alone crawl around, never seen one in a piece of cooked fish.

                      When I find one of those extra bits of protein while cleaning the fish, I just cut it out and go on. But I understand - the idea is most unappetizing. Best to just forget about it! :)

                      ps - re tilapia - have never eaten farm raised, they are easy to shoot in the wild with bow and arrow (for our younger folks), and because they are algae eaters can sometimes taste a bit like the bottom of the lake, or river.

                  2. re: Perilagu Khan

                    Fyi, Khan, I have found worms in salmon.

                    1. re: Perilagu Khan

                      Some freshwater fish are wormy, too.

                      1. re: elegraph

                        elegraph - many in fact. a few years back in the Ozarks on a float trip (city boy, pfff) caught some crawdads and had the bright idea of 'River Sashimi!' many many months and medical tests later at one of the finest hospitals in the region (Barnes) they narrowed it down to an uncooked parasite from said mudbug.

                      2. re: Perilagu Khan

                        there are more in freshwater fish then their are in seawater, parasites have a harder time adapting to the saltwater, and incidentally the parasites in saltwater fish arent adapted to human physiology and often times dont do anything to us, freshwater parasites though are more adapted to human physiology so you there are more chances of getting parasites from freshwater then seawater fish, as well as increased numbers of parasites since it easier to live in a freshwater environment then a salt water environment.

                      3. re: buttertart

                        b'tart - the fish n chips place on Shattuck near Hearst? by the fusty old lady bar? (both gone I think)

                        they were pretty good IIRC, first time I was ever given my choice of fish in the states.

                    2. Last year I returned some cod to whole foods that had worms in it. I knew the guy was right when we said that they are normally in there and they try to remove all and that it wouldn't hurt me, but I couldn't bring myself to eat it. So I don't think you are unnecessarily squeamish.

                      And in my mind, it's a big difference to say, "hey you've eaten them countless times and didn't realize it" to "here it is next to your freshly made codfish cakes, just ignore it and keep eating".

                      I'm curious to hear what others think.

                      1. I've found worms in locally caught Halibut. Bought some fresh, squeezed a little lemon juice on it and bang, the buggers were crawling out of the woodwork.
                        Monger told me it's very common in fish, but ..... yuck.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: janetms383

                          did you eat it after removing the worms?

                        2. I've read the deep sea fish don't typically have parasites and worms.

                          Otherwise sushi fish would be way too dangerous to eat.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: tomishungry

                            What fish are you defining as deep sea? Just curious. Cod (not that there's a lot of it out there anymore, sadly) is pretty much a deep sea fish, isn't it?

                            1. re: tomishungry

                              Sushi-grade fish sold in the U.S. must be frozen to kill the parasites. Even in the fancy sushi places, the fish was flash frozen on a boat, to preserve freshness, and to kill any worms.

                              I've seen academic science papers where scientists troll through sushi restaurants, and count how many worms they can find in the fish. In almost every case they find worms in the sushi, but they're dead worms.

                              All this talk of sushi has me hungry. Might have to go out for sushi tonight!