Hey, what’s for dinner tonight? Is it salmon? Sushi? Or tapeworm?
Tapeworm infestations are on the rise, as more people adopt diets that include eating sushi and fish. Just last year, a new study found that tapeworm infestations now affect about 1-in-100-thousand people, which is triple the normal infestation rate!
Exactly what is tapeworm? It’s a tiny parasite that lives on the flesh of fish and in the digestive tract of humans. When eaten, tapeworm normally causes mild discomfort in the stomach for a day or two before passing out of your system. In more severe cases, tapeworms can actually burrow into the stomach lining, and survive for years off the nutrients a person eats. These more dangerous worms may grow as long as 25 feet, and require surgery to be removed! As gross as that sounds, you should know this: You can reduce your risk of a tapeworm infestation to almost zero by simply cooking your fish! So does this mean you should stop eating sushi? Not necessarily. North American sushi is generally safe to eat.
That’s because the FDA requires all sushi restaurants to freeze their fish for about a week before serving, a process that kills almost all parasites. Plus, restaurants buy certified seafood, which has been specially inspected for parasites.
What you should avoid doing is serving raw sushi at home. Health experts say that unless you’ve had proper training, serving undercooked fish at home is a perfect recipe for tapeworm.