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Food Safety Focus (213rd Issue, April 2024) – Article 4

Minimising the Food Safety Risk of Raw Salmon

Local media recently reported that a live parasite was found in a piece of wild–caught raw salmon during food preparation in Japan. The above salmon product was graded as not for raw consumption according to the report. Salmon products, including both the wild-caught species and those raised in fish farms, are susceptible to contamination with a wide range of parasites. Consuming raw or undercooked foods containing live parasites could potentially lead to parasitic infestation.

The key to eliminating parasites is to cook food thoroughly, and a heating step is an effective parasite control measure. If thorough heating cannot be done, a freezing step can be taken instead. Freezing fish at -20°C or below for seven days or at -35°C or below for about 20 hours can kill parasites. The public should purchase salmon for raw consumption from food premises with an appropriate endorsement on a food business licence. The trade should source salmon with valid health certificates issued by the relevant authorities of the exporting countries. Susceptible populations like the elderly and pregnant women should avoid eating raw or undercooked salmon.