By Montana Grant

Posted: June 4, 2023

Many people enjoy eating raw seafood, fish, and shellfish. There is more on the menu than you may know about.

As soon as a fish dies, the clock starts running. Meat immediately begins to degrade. The only way to stop the process is to cook it, salt/preserve it, freeze it. You can slow the process with ice and refrigeration, but the meat becomes more contaminated, and rotten over time.

To get your tuna, salmon, or other fish to your table, it may need to travel long distances. “Fresh” seafood may be days old before it reaches your local vendor. If you live closer to the source of the fish, the product will be healthier and fresher.

Feasting on raw seafood has some benefits. It does not contain contaminants from preservatives or chemicals produced from cooking. Once a fish is cooked, the evaluable Omega 3 fatty acids are reduced. Nutritional value degrades once seafood is cooked.

Eating Raw seafood has its risks. Many of the health risks are a result of poor handling and cross contamination. Inconsistent temperatures and poor sanitary conditions can cause these health risks. Mixing raw seafood with other ingredients such as mushrooms or ingredients can also make the Raw meal more deadly. There are also many parasites and bacteria that need to be considered.

Here’s what’s on the menu!

FISH TAPEWORMS     These parasites can grow to 49 feet long in a human! They are common in salmon and cause Diphylobothriasis.  20 million raw fish eaters are infected annually.

LIVER FLUKES    These parasitic flatworms cause Opisthorchiasis, which infects 17 million raw fish eaters a year.

ROUNDWORMS    These worms burrow into your intestines and cause Anisakiasis and Gnathostomiasis. They are common in poultry, frogs, and fish.

FOOD POISONING    Poor handling and cross contamination result in Salmonella, Listeria, Clostridium, and other bacterial infections. Over 10% of all raw seafood tests positive for these problems.

Shellfish like oysters, mussels, and clams are filter feeders. They target any nasty yeech from their environment. If sewage, or other nasty toxins are in the water, they are in the shellfish. PCB’s, PCBS, PBDES, Mercury, Lead, Arsenic, and other contaminates can cause diabetes, cancer, or worse. These pollutants are generally stored in fat and are removed when cooked. If eaten raw, they are now in you.

Health risks escalate with age and general health of each consumer. If raw fish eaters already have health risks, the issues resulting from contaminated raw seafood will become magnified and even be fatal.

The appendix is an organ that was designed to deal with harmful bacteria and food issues. It is found between the small and large intestine. The chemistry in the appendix is responsible for killing any harmful toxins. Ancient people often ate anything and everything raw. When fire was discovered, food was now cooked. The need for the appendix has declined. Through evolution, the appendix has become downsized and may not protect us as it once did.

Enjoy eating Raw Seafood but know what’s on the menu!

Montana Grant

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