Why can we eat sushi without worry?

I am a sushi-liker (not lover) and enjoy the taste on occasion. Anyone out there know the procedure for preparing sushi? Why can we eat raw fish, but not raw beef or chicken? Do salmanella or E. Coli bacteria not like fish? What’s up with that?

Fact is you CAN’T eat sushi without worry! When I was living in Seattle there was a rash of people getting real live wriggling, writhing pink parasitic worms from bad sushi from super-fresh killed while you wait local salmon.

Stick to Ivers clam chowder…

I don’t think we can eat sushi without worry, gordo.

IIRC, the fish for sushi is inspected and must be used within some period of time, and must be held at a very low temperature. But there’s still a real risk of parasitic infection (not bacterial). All this doesn’t stop me from eating it, though (more fool me, maybe).

I think Unca Cecil addressed this some years back; I’m off to look for it.

The Cat In The Hat

Found it!


The Cat In The Hat

Whenever you eat raw food, you take a certain amount of risk.
a)you can eat raw beef (yum). most people choose not to.
b)Chicken and raw eggs in this country have a rather high liklihood of being contaminated with salmonella.
This is not much of a concern with beef or fish unless prepared alongside same.

Supposedly there are some ways to “treat” fish, but I think they’re bogus (didn’t cecil touch on this?

I eat sushi/sashimi with regularity, and I’ve never had the slightest problem. Of course, I also drink stream water when I hike in the mountains, and I’ve never gotten giardia. Maybe I have an especially vigorous system, or maybe I’m just lucky – I suspect, though, that the main reason is simply that the risk is not all that great.

From your examples, it seems that you did not really mean raw food, but rather you meant raw animal products.

My point is this: How come all I need to do to an apple is wash it off (if even that), but all these animal products are so much more problematic than fruits and veggies?

You’re right, I wasn’t as specific as I could have been.

My WAG (boy I’m fulla them today)
The danger of most raw meat is parasites.
Most of the parasites that live in fruits & veggies can’t live in Humans too. (unless I’m mistaken) Whereas the parasites that live in meat (trichosis, tapeworm, etc) will happily feast upon the human host.

Only a comparatively few macro-parasites can be transmitted by eating meat (raw, spoiled, or otherwise). A tapeworm’s intermediate host is a flea, which explains why cats, dogs, and such get them more often than humans. Hookworms usually enter bare feet with cuts. Pinworms, through feces. The intermediate host of many flukes is an aquatic snail.

That being said, one can certainly get the trichinosis parasite from undercooked pork. In this country, the government-mandated inspections have all but eliminated this concern if you buy your pork from a retail or wholesale vendor (as opposed to straight from Farmer Bob).

And, yes, many fish are full of parasites, but usually not the ones you would eat. I happen to love sushi. I’ll buy a couple of salmon filets or steaks and fix them up raw straight out of the fridge. In fact, I’m eating some now. Never once had a prob…gaaa! urrrrgh! barfff!

I’ve recently taken to limiting my sushi to vegetable stuff (cucumber, avacado, and their ilk) and cooked (or smoked) fish… Yes, it cuts down on the sushi experience, but it also cuts down on the worry about parasites.

“High liklihood”? I don’t think so. For ages I used to put a raw egg in my malted milk shakes. And I never had a problem with this or any other parasitic infections.

That said, if I am eating out and I bit into chicken with blood all over the bone, SOMEONE is buying me a new dinner.

Yer pal,

Well now I wouldn’t say that :slight_smile:

A [local?] juice company recently [within the last couple years] had to recall some of their products because it was contaminated with E. Coli. E. Coli is passed by animal feces, and it seems cows grazed in an orchard that supplied fruit to this company. Evidentally, the fruit pickers were also picking fruit up off the ground. Then the company didn’t pasteurize the juice before bottling and shipping it to stores.

So I guess animals are still to blame, but it still goes to show that maybe fruits and vegies are always completely contaminate-free.

I wonder if you can use soap and hot water on an apple?

“I hope life isn’t a big joke, because I don’t get it,” Jack Handy

Ack! I mean, fruits and veggies AREN’T always contaminate-free!

This reminds me of something else, though, if I may go further off on a tangent.

Seems some companies don’t pasteurize their products so they can appeal to the health-nuts who think pasteurization destroys nutrients. When my folks had the dairy, they sold raw (unpasteurized) milk to the locals and I don’t recall every hearing about anyone getting sick. But I remember after another family took over the dairy, people did begin to get sick, including me. I ended up in the hospital with what they called “raw milk disease.” But this family was not only selling unpasteurized milk, they didn’t even clean the milking equipment. The hoses and stuff were full of old milk residue; very nasty. I think they eventually lost the right to sell the stuff to the general public.

In the meantime, some 20 years after being hospitalized with “raw milk disease,” I keep wondering if maybe it was really E. Coli. I mean, I don’t think I’d ever even heard of E. Coli until about 5 or so years ago. Has anyone else ever heard of raw milk disease?

“I hope life isn’t a big joke, because I don’t get it,” Jack Handy

Satan, about 1/3 of all chickens in the USA are infected with salmonella. You can contract it from eating undercooked chicken or from undercooked eggs. The salmonella is inside the eggs, so washing them off won’t help. To a big, strong, beefcake guy like you the symptoms probably wouldn’t be fatal, but kids and old people and other immunocompromised people can drop dead from such a thing. We had a guy in the ICU (actually, he wasn’t really old or otherwise immunosuppressed) recently who damn near died of salmonella poisoning.

Just thought you should know.

Food-poisoning (a pop name for food-borne diseases) is much more prevalent than people think. More than likely, your last ‘24 hour virus’ was really a food-borne bacteria. Most commonly, it just makes you sick for a while (while you puke or explosively defecate it away). In the smaller percentages of cases does it require hospitalization or cause death.

Like the others have said, you cant really eat sushi without some worry, but to most people its in the deep recesses of their minds. The only fish i will consume raw is tuna. Our local sushi restaurants get the good stuff, meaning sushi/sashimi grade. I hear sea fish are safer than freshwater fish (not saying there aren’t any parasites in sea going fish).

I like the tuna rolls so its a risk i take. However, i usually go for the vegetable ones or the cooked fish types (such as the eel rolls, california rolls, and tempura rolls (my favorite!).I have also had sashimi. I hear that some flukes you can actually see with your bare eyes (ewww!).

Sushi? Ah, one of my favorite words because americans haven’t a clue what the word means.

First of all, sushi is NOT raw fish. If it were anything for sure, it would be RICE!

Yes, ‘sushi’ means any fish on a ball of rice. tsk & you thought you knew everything? :slight_smile:

Maybe it’s not harmful because there’s only a tiny bit of raw fish? A better question would be what about sashimi, with is basicallly a slab of raw fish.

Mmmm, now I got a hankering for sushi. Philadephia rolls are my favorite (salmon/cream cheese)

“It is impossible to defeat an ignorant man in an argument” - William McAdoo

Cooking is only necessary to kill baddies in old food, or to kill parasites from animals that were infected while living. There is no danger from raw fish IF the fish was healthy when alive, if the fish is kept fresh and sanitary before eating. Same for any other raw food. The danger in eating sashimi is probably less than that of eating a medium rare steak (WAG).


Sashimi: Raw Fish
Sushi: a style of preparing food using rice. Sushi comes in many styles, most use wasabe for flavor and often seaweed. Many popular kinds of sushi use sashimi.
Maki: sushi prepared “roll-style” and usually served in sections. “California rolls” (the most popular sushi served in the states) is either cooked crabmeat or “Krab” (Pollock), avocado, and sometime cucumber and usually rolled “inside out” (rice on outside, seaweed inside).
Nigiri: sushi prepared by placing the food on top of a “lump” of rice, usually held in place with seaweed of wasabe paste.

As noted before, the only common ingredient in sushi is the rice, so sushi could best be described as “food prepared to be eaten bite-sized with rice.” I had a Korean roommate who used to make hot-dog maki quite frequently. It was surprisingly tasty.

Jason R Remy

“What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate”
Warden in Cool Hand Luke

They have different laws depending on where you live, but essentially “sushi grade” fish must be below a certain temperature when caught and then maintained at a similar, but not quite as low, temperature without freezing. This means that the parasites living in the fish cannot live in the heat of the human body. The problem is, sometimes you get served non-“sushi grade” fish. Or fish that has been stored with contaminated fish. If you have problems, be sure to contact the health department and a lawyer, this is a lawsuit you can win.