Food & Drinks

Chef Tips: How To Enjoy Raw Fish Safely

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Chef Tips: How To Enjoy Raw Fish Safely

Lara Pasquarelli, chef of the restaurant Claudio in Bergeggi, a town along Italy's coastal region of Liguria, made fish one of her main ingredients.

For all those who share her passion for seafood, here's her advice for enjoying raw fish safely.

Raw fish can be contaminated by various bacteria - such as Listeria, E. coli, Salmonella - that cause serious gastrointestinal problems. The greatest risk to those who consume raw fish is called Anisakis, an intestinal parasite present in many fish including tuna, salmon, sardine, anchovy, hake, cod and mackerel.

Since 1992 the Italian Ministry of Health has required people administering raw fish in brine to use previously frozen fish. In fact, Anisakis and its larvae die if exposed to temperatures of 60°C (140°F), or after 96 hours at -15°C (5°F); 60 hours at -20°C (-4°F), 12 hours at -30°C (-22°F), 9 hours at -40°C (-40°F).

Food poisoning cases are on the rise and the cause is often due to the marinated anchovies, apparently not having previously been frozen. To avoid contamination, just follow these simple tips and tricks in the kitchen:

  • Avoid consuming raw or marinated fish, unless previously frozen (ask the manager of the restaurant).
  • If you want to prepare dishes made with raw or undercooked fish (i.e. , sushi or marinated anchovies), you must freeze it before you prepare it. Lemon juice or vinegar alone won't inactivate the larvae.
  • If consuming raw fish at home, buy fresh and freeze for at least 4-5 days in the freezer at -18°C (-0.4°F).
  • The smell of seafood must be a pleasant scent of the sea. Never buy shellfish contaminated with mud, sand, algae or immersed in water at the time of purchase.
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