Salmon is a common seafood option because of its many health advantages. Many nations have traditional foods that are created using raw fish. Popular examples are gravlax, a Nordic appetizer of undercooked salmon cured in salt, honey, and dill, and sashimi, a Japanese meal featuring thinly sliced raw fish.
If you have a daring palate, you might be concerned about the safety of eating undercooked salmon. This article discusses the potential health risks of consuming undercooked salmon as well as safe consumption practices.
Possible Health Risk
Bacteria, parasites, and other diseases may be present in undercooked salmon. Some can come from inappropriate handling, while others might happen naturally in the fish’s habitat. Salmon may be safely consumed raw if cooked to an internal temperature of 145°F (63°C), which also destroys germs and parasites.
Undercooked salmon with parasites
Salmon is listed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a recognized source of parasites, which are living creatures that reside on or in other creatures, including people. Helminths are parasites that resemble roundworms or tapeworms. They are typical of finfish, including salmon.
Your small intestine is home to helminths, including the Japanese wide tapeworm Diphyllobothrium nihonkaiense, which may reach lengths up to 39 feet (12 meters).
These and other varieties of tapeworms have been discovered in raw Alaskan and Japanese wild salmon and in the gastrointestinal tracts of humans who have consumed those foods. Weight loss, gastrointestinal discomfort, diarrhea, and occasionally anemia are signs of helminth infection. Nevertheless, a lot of people have no symptoms.
Salmon-related Bacterial and Viral Infections
Salmon, like all varieties of seafood, may be contaminated by germs or viruses, which, when consumed raw, may result in mild to severe sickness. Salmon served uncooked may include a variety of germs and viruses, including:
- Clostridium botulinum
- Staphylococcus aureus
- Listeria monocytogenes
- Escherichia coli
- Hepatitis A
When seafood is handled or stored improperly, or when it is taken out of water that has been contaminated by human waste, diseases from eating seafood are more common. Environmental pollutants could also be present in undercooked salmon. Salmon from farms and the wild may include traces of heavy metals and persistent organic pollutants (POPs).
Pesticides, industrial production chemicals, and flame retardants are examples of POPs that build up in the food chain because they are deposited in the fatty tissue of fish and other animals. A higher risk of cancer, birth abnormalities, and endocrine, immunological, and reproductive diseases is linked to human exposure to POPs.
Salmon had the most significant concentrations of a particular kind of flame retardant, according to research that examined ten different types of fish purchased at a market in Spain.
Salmon that has been cooked has lower levels of several POPs. According to one research, cooked salmon had POP levels that were 26% lower than raw fish on average.
How to Lower Your Risk of Contracting a Foodborne Disease
Salmon should be blast-frozen to -31°F (-35°C), eliminating any parasites if you consume it raw. Still, not all germs are eliminated by blast freezing. It’s also important to remember that most household freezers don’t reach this cold. You should also carefully inspect undercooked salmon before purchasing it or eating dishes that include it.
Salmon that has been correctly frozen and thawed appears firm and moist with no bruising, discoloration, or bad smell.
To avoid bacterial contamination while preparing undercooked salmon in your kitchen, ensure your counters, knives, and serving utensils are clean. You should also store the salmon in the refrigerator until just before serving. Your mouth or throat may feel tingling while eating undercooked salmon or any other form of seafood. This might result from a living parasite moving around in your mouth. Cough it up or spit it out.
Who should not eat raw fish
Some people should never consume undercooked salmon or other raw fish because they have a greater risk of getting a severe foodborne infection. These persons consist of:
Anybody with a compromised immune system, such as those with cancer, liver illness, HIV/AIDS, organ transplants, or diabetes, pregnant women, youngsters, elderly persons, or anyone else Foodborne disease can cause severe symptoms, hospitalization, or even death in persons with weakened immune systems.
Undercooked salmon dishes may be a pleasant treat and a healthy way to consume fish. However, it’s crucial to be aware that undercooked salmon may include germs, poisons, and parasites that can be dangerous even in small amounts. Eat only properly cooked and kept undercooked salmon. Avoid consuming raw salmon if your immune system is already weak. If you found this article informative, read our blog on Sprite. You’ll find it quite informative.