Hongkongers are no strangers to Japanese food, and sashimi has been one of our favorite culinary delights for so long. However, raw fish could possibly become the breeding bed of certain species of parasites. Earlier, the Center for Food Safety has found parasites in sashimi sold in local sushi chains, which again raised the health concerns of consuming raw fish.1
Types of parasites
Roundworms, tapeworms and flukes are among the most commonly found types of parasites in seafood. They can cause mild-to-moderate gastrointestinal symptoms, or allergic reactions with rash and itching.2
Another type of parasite that is lesser-known but more common than tapeworm is Anisakidae. It can cause stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and mild fever. Some other parasites such as lung flukes can even migrate to other human organs and cause serious complications in severe cases.2
Given HongKongers’ love for good food, our fear for parasites is probably not going to stop us from ordering sushi and sashimi. So instead of advising you to avoid eating raw fish altogether, here are some easy and effective measures to prevent parasitic infections while you are enjoying this delicacy.
- Buy or order sushi and sashimi from reliable sources that have obtained relevant license from the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department
- You should know: restaurants will freeze fish that is intended for raw consumption at -20°C or below for seven days or at -35°C for about 20 hours to minimize the risk of parasites2
- Serve it with clean utensils and disinfect all surfaces properly
- Remember to wash your hands before consumption
- Maintain moderate consumption
Even when cooked, seafood can sometimes cause safety concerns. Hairy crab is another delicacy loved by Hong Kongers that need our special attention. Find out if it is safe for you to eat them.