Sashimi is a traditional Japanese food dish, often served as the first course in a formal Japanese meal, can also be eaten as a main course, or as a combination with a sushi meal.
Besides it is very delicious many argue that it is the most expensive part of a sushi menu. It is mostly prepared out of raw fish products such as tuna, salmon, squid, mackerel, puffer fish, octopus, shrimps, whale meat, but although less common it’s not unusual to find it prepared out of some vegetarian items such as Yuba or some raw red meats or horse meat.
However, despite of being very delicious the sashimi prepared out of raw sliced fish especially those living in fresh water like salmon can be very health dangerous, in not properly cleaned and prepared.
Modern food law in some countries like the USA or the European Union demand that seafood products must be priory frozen if are later to be used as raw.
There is a case of a Chinese man who loved eating sashimi and nearly got himself killed by a riddling tapeworm infection.
The man went to see a doctor complaining of stomach ache and itchy skin. The results from the tests made on him by doctors from Guangdong Province in eastern China, showed that his body is infected with tapeworm parasites, a result of eating excessive amounts of sashimi containing contaminated raw fish.
When fish living in fresh or brackish water eat tapeworm eggs they caught bacteria or larvae of parasites. These larvae attach themselves to the fishflesh and become worms infecting it. So when this fish is eaten raw these larvae can actually transfer to anyhuman eating the fish.
Once the human is infected, the tapeworm also called diphyllobothrium infecting it grows inside the intestine and can reach a length to even 15 meters in a period of weeks.
The symptoms of this infection can include fatigue, constipation and abdominal discomfort but can also be very mild so the infected human won’t actually notice that something is wrong with him.
However if undetected for several months or more the tapeworm can live a long period, even years inside the human body.The larvae can also migrate to other parts of the body eating and destroying organs such as the liver, eyes, heart or even the brain.
If the larvae reach the brain the infection can be very serious and life threatening. As we saw, eating uncooked raw fish and other products contaminated with tapeworm eggs can cause a variety of parasitic infections such as cysticecosis, anisakiasis and many others.
Not only in raw fish, but these worms can also be transmitted by marinated or smoked fish and some other popular seafood dishes such as: raw salted or marinated fillets originating from the Scandinavian countries or carpaccio – thin slices of raw fish common in Italy.
Cases of tapeworm infections have increased not only in the poorer countries of the world, but also in the more developed countries.
Research done by many institutions and doctors in the world say that this has a lot to dowith the soaring popularity of sushi on a global scale.
So, even though you may find them to be very delicious, if you don’t want to potentially expose yourself to a risk of such parasites and infections it’s probably for the best if you avoid eating dishes involving raw meat and raw fish products and stick to the priorly frozen or cooked stuff.