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Salmon Sashimi - is it safe for raw consumption?

(photo by Albert Law)

Sushi is such a delicacy, and that is why we love it.

At the same time, we are aware of laying the risk of consuming raw fish.

Because safety is one of the most important aspects of our service, we take every precaution to ensure the quality of fish we serve.

We taste every fish we serve so that we know they meet our quality standards.

Recently, one of our clients brought up their concern about the safety of consuming raw salmon, citing some online information about potential parasites and their effects on the human body.

To obtain more accurate date information, we’ve consulted with our fish supplier, Tom Worthington of Monterey Fish Market in San Francisco, who’s been in business since 1979.

Wild Salmon (we use Wild King Salmon from Oregon) comes with parasites known as tapeworm. It resides in the meat of salmon as an egg/capsule. It is visible to the human eye and will look like a round white dot.

There are two different ways to kill this tapeworm.

  1. Cook salmon thoroughly.

  2. Freeze salmon for at least 24 hours. (-31°F (-35°C) or below until solid and storing at -31°F (-35°C) or below for 15 hours, or freezing at -31°F (-35°C) or below until solid and storing at -4°F (-20°C) or below for 24 hours is sufficient to kill parasites.*

For raw consumption, FDA recommends the #2 method.

We’ve been curing our salmon with salt and vinegar. This method is called “Shime” in Japanese and has been used to treat such fish as Japanese Mackerel (saba) for raw consumption.

The reason for us to use this method over freezing is simply that salmon tastes better when it’s not frozen.

Though we’ve never seen tapeworm capsules in the salmon we’ve served, because of a recent incident, we’ve decided to freeze our salmon to make sure the tapeworm is killed when served raw.

We’ve asked Monterey Fish Market to freeze our salmon for at least 24 hours in their freezer that is capable of storing at a temperature below -60°F.

By doing so, we hope to bring a good quality sashimi salmon that is safe for all our clients to enjoy.


*Seafood Health Facts: Making Smart Choices

Balancing the Benefits and Risks of Seafood Consumption

Resources for Healthcare Providers and Consumers

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