Here’s bad news if you like sushi

An alarming new report claims that sushi has one big potential problem that you might not be aware of despite all of its benefits.

Sushi lovers, beware: scientists have just found out something about this food that should cause you great alarm if you eat it on a regular basis. Although it’s been praised as an awesome food both because it is low in fat and high in protein, not to mention rich in Omega 3 fatty acids, a new report finds that there is a dangerous parasite lurking inside sometimes that is causing more problems than ever before.

The report, published in the medical journal BMJ Case Reports, discusses the case of a Portugal man who began experiencing stomach pain and then started vomiting and reported a high fever. Doctors determined that he had recently eaten sushi, and after an endoscopy, they found a parasite larvae that had attached itself to his stomach lining.

They diagnosed him with anisakiasis, which is caused by parasitic worms that can be found in sushi, and as the food rises in popularity, so do cases of this unpleasant disease.

The statement from BMJ is below.

An unseen hazard of eating raw or undercooked fish/seafood is on the rise in Western countries, where dishes, such as sushi, are becoming increasingly popular, warn doctors today in a.

The warning comes after they treated a 32 year old previously well man who had had severe upper gut (epigastric) pain, vomiting, and fever for a week.

A blood test indicated mild inflammation, and the area below his ribs was tender. But it was only when the man revealed that he had recently eaten sushi that the doctors suspected that he might have anisakiasis.

Anisakiasis is caused by eating raw or undercooked fish/seafood infected with nematode parasites of the species Anisakis.

Endoscopy–the insertion of a long tube with a camera on the end down the gullet and into the stomach–revealed the larva of a worm-like parasite firmly attached to an area of swollen and inflamed gut lining.

After the larva was removed with a special kind of net, the man’s symptoms cleared up straight away. Laboratory analysis showed that the larva belonged to the species of Anisakis.

Most of the reported cases to date have been in Japan, where a raw fish diet is very common say the authors.

“However, it has been increasingly recognised in Western countries,” they add, and advise clinicians to consider the condition in patients with pain, nausea, vomiting and other complications, such as bowel obstruction and bleeding, who have recently eaten raw or undercooked fish.

Here is an excerpt from Wikipedia on sushi.

Sushi is the Japanese preparation and serving of specially prepared vinegared rice combined with varied ingredients such as chiefly seafood (often uncooked), vegetables, and occasionally tropical fruits. Styles of sushi and its presentation vary widely, but the key ingredient in all cases is the sushi rice, also referred to as shari, or sumeshi.

Sushi can be prepared with either brown or white rice. It is often prepared with raw seafood, but some common varieties of sushi use cooked ingredients, and many other sorts are vegetarian. Sushi is often served with pickled ginger, wasabi, and soy sauce. Daikon radish is popular as a garnish.

Sushi is often confused with sashimi, a related Japanese dish consisting of thinly sliced raw meat or fish and an optional serving of rice. Sashimi is served as slices, unlike sushi, which is served as rolls.

Some of the ingredients in sushi can present health risks. Large marine apex predators such as tuna (especially bluefin) can harbor high levels of methylmercury, which can lead to mercury poisoning when consumed in large quantity[56] or when consumed by certain higher-risk groups, including women who are pregnant or may become pregnant, nursing mothers and young children.[57]

According to recent studies, there have been about 18 million infections worldwide from eating raw fish.[58] This serves as a great risk to expecting mothers due to the health risks that medical interventions or treatment measures may pose on the developing fetus.[58] Parasitic infections can have a wide range of health impacts, including bowel obstruction, anemia, liver disease, and more.[58] The impact of these illnesses alone can pose some health concerns on the expecting mother and baby, but the curative measures that may need to take place to recover are also of concern as well.[58]

Sashimi or other types of sushi containing raw fish present a risk of infection by three main types of parasites:

Clonorchis sinensis, a fluke which can cause clonorchiasis[59]
Anisakis, a roundworm which can cause anisakiasis[60]
Diphyllobothrium, a tapeworm which can cause diphyllobothriasis[61]
For the above reasons, EU regulations forbid the use of fresh raw fish. It must be frozen at temperatures below −20 °C (−4 °F) in all parts of the product for no less than 24 hours.[62] As such, a number of fishing boats, suppliers and end users “super-freeze” fish for sushi to temperatures as low as −60 °C.[63] As well as parasite destruction, super-freezing also prevents oxidation of the blood in tuna flesh, thus preventing the discoloration that happens at temperatures above −20 °C.[64]

Some forms of sushi, notably those containing pufferfish fugu and some kinds of shellfish, can cause severe poisoning if not prepared properly. Particularly, fugu consumption can be fatal. Fugu fish has a lethal dose of tetrodotoxin in its internal organs and, by law in many countries, must be prepared by a licensed fugu chef who has passed the prefectural examination in Japan.[65] The licensing examination process consists of a written test, a fish-identification test, and a practical test that involves preparing the fugu and separating out the poisonous organs. Only about 35 percent of the applicants pass.


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