Parasite Anisakis recommendations
Recommendations for the general population
Freeze uncooked fish to be consumed at least 48 hours in advance:
- Sushi, Japanese sashimi, smoked fish, sprats (herring, salmon, mackerel, bonito, and tuna).
- South American Ceviche (sole, silverside, mackerel, bonito, grouper, octopus, squid, sea bass, shark).
- From Denmark: Smoked and / or salted herring.
- From Italy: marinated anchovies.
- From Scandinavia: Gravlax (salmon).
- From Spain: Anchovies in vinegar.
- From Germany: Rollmops (herring).
- From Holland: Nieuwe (herring).
- From Hawaii: Lomi-lomi.
Cook marine fish over 60° C (at least for 2 minutes).
Microwave precautions: at least 15 seconds at 74 ° C; cover and rotate pieces during heating and let stand for 2 minutes once cooked.
Recommendations for patients with confirmed Anisakis allergic reactions
1- More careful option in cases of severe reactions:
- Avoid marine fish and cephalopods (squid, cuttlefish, and octopus). River fish, bivalve molluscs (clams, oysters, mussels, cockles, etc.) and shellfish are safe.
- Carry adrenaline treatment if eating out.
2 – Practical option:
- Cook fish adequately, as described above.
- Refrain from meals containing fish outside home.
- Avoid fish species prone to parasites and small fish, in order not to ingest the musculature adjacent to the abdominal region of marine fish (hake, whiting, cod, loach, anchovies, mullet, etc.). Consume – with prior visual inspection – the part of the tail with fewer fish parasites (tuna, bonito, mackerel, megrim).
In case of finding parasites on the fish, recognize and remove them to avoid ingestion.
In 2010, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) prepared a document about the safety of farmed fish with regard to allergic reactions to Anisakis, and came to the following conclusion:
Currently common practices of farmed salmon production ensure a very low probability of containing parasites, and therefore the risk of infection by parasites is negligible at present.
AVOIDANCE OF PARASITISM BY ANISAKIS
Allergic reactions to Anisakis occur only when larva is ingested alive and therefore, they can be prevented by killing it before eating the fish.
There are two ways to kill the larvae. The first one is to freeze fish to -20° C, for at least 24 hours, preferably 72 hours; and secondly cooking food at more than 60° C for at least 10 minutes.
Fish grilled, baked or cooked in microwaves is not safe because it does not reach sufficient temperature during cooking.
Salting fish can also kill the parasite.
Avoid eating raw and undercooked fish and cephalopods if they have not been previously frozen.
On 1st of December 2006 the 1460/2006 Decree was published which requires freezing fish which is to be consumed raw or undercooked.
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