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Worms and Parasites in Salmon: The Truth

Salmon is a delightful and nutritious fish that people worldwide love to eat, in fact, I was born and raised in Northern Quebec where the seafood industry is very dominant, therefore, lots of fish.

However, did you know that it can contain worms?

Yes, you read that right!

But before you freak out, let us tell you the truth about worms in salmon.

In this article, I will dive deep into the topic of worms and parasites in salmon and fish in general and answer some burning questions like how common are they, whether all fish are infected or not, and if consuming parasite-infected fish is harmful.

I will also discuss the impact of cooking them and what makes wild fish more susceptible to worms.

Lastly, we will share some tips with you on how to ensure the salmon you eat is safe.

So keep reading and be informed about what’s on your plate!

Warning: you might see some images of worms that might be disturbing for some persons.


Unraveling the Truth: Parasites in Fish

Source: PETA

This is a common occurrence in aquatic environments, with various types of parasites affecting different species of fish.

However, the good news is that proper cooking techniques can effectively kill them that may be present in fish.

It’s essential to cook fish to an internal temperature of at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit (63 degrees Celsius) to ensure that any potential parasites are eliminated.

Regular inspection, regulation and disease control also play a crucial role in ensuring the safety of seafood.

Fish regulation for Canada

Fish regulation for the USA (NOAA Fisheries)

By understanding the risks and taking necessary precautions, such as buying from reputable sources like Costco or any local trusted grocery shopping places, we can minimize the impact of parasites on fish.

How Common are Parasites in Salmon?

Worms in salmon, like anisakid nematodes, also known as herring worms or cod worms are not uncommon and in fact, the majority of wild salmon are infected.

Rest assured, no cause for panic, experts say (CBC News)

The occurrence of worms in salmon varies depending on the location and species.

“Wild Pacific salmon may have a higher chance of being infected compared to farmed salmon but was closely tied to farm proximity” Source: National Library of Medicine 2021

Proper handling, processing, and cooking practices can eliminate the risk of consuming worm-infested salmon.

Regular testing and quality control measures are implemented to reduce the incidence of worms in commercially available salmon.

But What About That Video Clip From Costco?

Yes, I’ve seen it, and mostly millions did, and I can assure you it is not appetizing to look at and frankly, it makes me want to become vegan.

You can see, what seems to be, a live worm floating on top of the piece of fish.


Live parasites in the salmon today at #costco yummmm ??

♬ Oh No - Kreepa

But here is the deal. You have been eating them over and over. You just don’t see them when they are dead.

Keep reading below if you haven’t gone vomit yet.

Debunking Myths: Are All Fish Infected?

Not all fish have parasites, but it’s common for fish to have them since parasites can affect all living organisms, including fish…and us! (but that’s a totally new article)

It’s important to remember that finding worms in fish is natural and not contaminated.

Cooking or freezing the fish thoroughly will kill them.

Understanding the Life Cycle of Parasites in Aquatic Life

Parasites in aquatic life have complex life cycles that involve multiple hosts, including fish.

These living organisms thrive in the aquatic environment, which provides suitable conditions for their development and transmission.

Understanding the life cycle of these parasites is crucial as it helps in implementing effective control measures.

Fish become infected with them through interactions with intermediate hosts or contaminated environments.

Therefore, proper sanitation and hygiene practices are essential to prevent their spread in aquatic ecosystems.

By being aware of the life cycle of these organisms, we can take necessary steps to ensure the health and well-being of our aquatic life.

The Impact of Cooking on Parasites

When it comes to ensuring the safety of consuming fish, the impact of cooking on parasites cannot be overlooked.

By cooking fish at the recommended temperature, you can effectively kill any parasites or worms that may be present.

Heat treatment methods, such as baking or grilling, are particularly effective in eliminating them in fish.

Additionally, freezing fish at sub-zero temperatures or 32 degrees Fahrenheit for a certain duration can also do the trick.

To guarantee the safety of your fish, it is crucial to follow proper cooking guidelines and use a food thermometer to ensure it reaches the appropriate temperature.

By doing so, you can enjoy your meal without worrying about the presence of harmful parasites.

What Makes Wild Fish More Susceptible to Worms?

“Wild fish are more susceptible to worms compared to farmed fish due to their exposure to natural environments where they encounter parasite-carrying organisms.” Source: Washington State Department of Health

The life cycle of parasites may involve intermediate hosts that are more prevalent in the wild.

Environmental factors and proper handling, processing, and cooking techniques play a role in reducing the risk of consuming worms.

Is Consuming Parasite-Infected Fish Harmful?

Consuming fish infected with uncooked parasites can be harmful to your health.

Ingesting these organisms can cause gastrointestinal discomfort and other symptoms.

However, the majority of fish parasites are harmless to humans and are digested when eaten with their fish hosts

It’s important to properly cook fish to eliminate them and reduce the risk of infections and diseases.

What About Sushi?


Raw fish like sushi can be risky due to potential parasites.

Traditional sushi often uses frozen fish to kill parasites.

It must be prepared with care and high-quality ingredients.

Choose trusted places to minimize the risk.

For some reason, I would never buy sushi in a street car at a festival. “I’m just sayin'”



Still, Reading?

In conclusion, it’s important to understand that the presence of worms in salmon is not as uncommon or harmful as many people believe.

While it may be unsettling to come across a parasite in your fish, proper cooking methods and sourcing of fish can greatly minimize any potential risks.

Wild fish are more likely to have parasites due to their natural environment, but they can still be safely consumed with proper preparation.

To ensure the salmon you eat is safe, make sure to purchase it from reputable sources and cook it to the recommended temperatures or freeze it to a temperature below 0 Celcius or 32 Fahrenheit.

By following these guidelines, you can continue to enjoy the health benefits of salmon without any unnecessary worries.

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