Alarming reports are surfacing all over the internet! Should we all stop eating salmon sashimi?!
The stories are popping up all over the place, with headlines like “Sushi lovers, beware: Tapeworm now found in U.S. salmon.” The particular species of Japanese broad tapeworm — “which can grow up to 30 feet long in the human body,” according to the same story — has been found in wild Alaskan salmon using a new identification technique.
But the truth is, your sushi and sashimi are as safe as ever. The FDA mandates that fish to be eaten raw in the U.S. is frozen first, which kills parasites like tapeworms. (This is one of the reasons it’s really good to have the FDA.)
That doesn’t make as good a story, does it? But reading all the way through helps. Many paragraphs after the alarming/completely disgusting intro on this Washington Post article on the topic, for instance, you’ll see: “But before any sushi lover’s warning bells start chiming too loudly, the vast majority of raw salmon on the market does not come with the risk of a new type of parasitic infection… What the study should shows [sic], Ferguson said, is that infectious disease experts are improving their ability to distinguish the Japanese broad tapeworm from other sorts of tapeworm parasites. ‘This worm has always been here, and we’re just getting better at identifying it.'”