Is News of Tapeworm in Salmon Sensationalized?
Reading the latest headlines referencing a scientific study about tapeworm species in wild alaskan salmon may leave you feeling disgusted and concerned about health factors.
The original news story misinterpreted the study turning it into a cautionary food safety issue.
The study was done to assess marine tapeworm species. To conduct the research, several different species of salmon were collected from sport harvesters from a non-commercial harvest area, and the fish was not commercially processed.
There is a difference between consuming wild fish in raw state or one that hasn’t been frozen according to proper health standards and fish that is wild yet commercially produce.
It is important to note these facts:
- Parasitic worms occur naturally in fish.
- Deep freezing or cooking kills them while rendering them virtually undetectable.
According to Wild Alaskan Seafood, media reporting of Alaskan salmon being contaminated with tapeworm is inaccurate. While one species of tapeworm was found in an Alaskan pink salmon, this is not an indictment of the greater Alaska salmon commercial catch, which is intended for consumer consumption. Further commercial pink salmon is sold to consumers canned or frozen. Only 0.6% of pink salmon is released fresh (2015 data) and no commercial harvest of pink salmon in freshwater streams takes place.
Sensationalism Produces Higher Ratings
USA Today reported on January 13, 2017 that a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says some wild Pacific salmon from Alaska was found to be infected with tapeworms. Their source originally came from Newser on January 12, 2017.
The article went on saying that researchers identified the Japanese broad tapeworm, aka Diphyllobothrium nihonkaiense, in wild pink salmon caught off Alaska: as if this is new information to panic about.
They referenced a study in the CDC’s Emerging Infectious Diseases journal. “Therefore, salmon from the American and Asian Pacific coasts and elsewhere pose potential dangers for persons who eat these fish raw,” write the researchers.
Inaccurate and Out of Context Reporting
Out of Context Reporting
Jayde Ferguson, a state wildlife official who co-authored the study, tells Alaska Dispatch News that the discovery shouldn’t be much cause for alarm among consumers. “If it was anything that was of concern, increased risk or anything like that from a management standpoint, we would have said something,” he says. “They’re wild animals—they’re going to have parasites, they’re out in nature.”
CNN reported that ” US Salmon may carry Japanese tapeworm” going on saying that Jayde Ferguson, a co-author of the new study and a scientist at Alaska Department of Fish and Game said “The tapeworm itself is probably not new — it’s just that more skilled parasitologist started looking for it. Identifying these parasites is challenging,” said Ferguson. “This was simply a more detailed evaluation of the Diphyllobothrium that has occurred here for over a millennium.”
Ferguson says to Washington Post ” infectious disease experts are improving their ability to distinguish the Japanese broad tapeworm from other sorts of tapeworm parasites.”This worm has always been here, and we’re just getting better at identifying it.”
The CDC never issued a warning. The study was published in the CDC’s monthly journal, Emerging Infectious Diseases, but did not caution consumers. GoodHouseKeeping updated their previously reported article with misinformation. We applaud their good journalistic practice.
Safe Fish without adding Chemical Warfare
The CDC notes that cooking the fish also will annihilate Diphyllobothrium parasites.
The FDA requires that all seafood is either frozen at -4F for 7 days or cooked to an internal temperature of 140F to effectively kill any parasites. Flash freezing practices kill off parasites. Home freezers can not do that.
According to Randy Hartnell from Vital Choice parasites in fish (birds, land animals, people, etc.) have been around nearly as long as life itself, and are a 100% natural and ‘organic’ phenomenon that go along with consuming wild food raised free of chemical pesticides and veterinary drugs.
BareFood Angel’s Bottom Line
Almonds and spinach went through scrutiny. These foods are not the first or last that have gone through scrutiny as far as foodborne illness prevention is concerned.
Usually source of these food born illnesses in plants is linked to an industrial food system of mass production with run off water from nearby CAFOs or the use of pesticides that weakens the plant’s natural defense systems.
Then illogical “solutions” like irradiation, chemical warfare or pasteurization are applied to kill the bug and in the process kill the food. The reason we consume food is because of its live nutrients, vitamins and enzymes.
Pests, bugs, critters, bacteria, viruses, parasites are all part of living nature. Believe it or not, they have a tremendous contribution towards balancing life on earth.
Don’t Toss the Baby with Dirty Bath Water
We need Omega 3 essential fatty acids for so many reasons. They are “essential” because your body can not produce it on its own. It needs to consume it from your diet.
According to Dr. Mercola, traditionally, only two fats are considered “essential”—ALA (an omega-3 fat) and LA (an omega-6 fat). However, we now know it’s the long-chain derivatives—arachidonic acid, DHA, and EPA—that your body needs the most.
- Plant Based: The shorter-chain form of omega-3 is alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), the only omega-3 found in plants (except for some algae). Foods rich in ALA include flaxseed oil (53 percent), canola oil (11 percent), English walnuts (9 percent), and soybean oil (7 percent).
- Animal Based: The longer-chain forms of omega-3 are found mostly in animals and they are eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acids (EPA and DHA) and are highly unsaturated, mainly found in fish, shellfish and krill. DHA is the primary structural component of your brain and retina, and EPA is its precursor. Your body can make some EPA and DHA from short-chain ALA, but does so inefficiently. Recent studies suggest less than one percent of ALA is converted, if you are consuming the typical Western diet. DHA is found in cod liver oil, fatty fish, and in smaller concentrations in the organs and fats of land animals.
GreenMedInfo.com lists over 400 studies supporting the benefits of omega-3s for 254 different diseases, which is powerful proof of their broad-reaching scope. One reason omega-3s are so good for you is their anti-inflammatory properties, especially the omega-3s from animal sources.
When feeling yucky reading about critters around us, know the facts before taking drastic measures like cutting off an amazing source of Omega 3 essential fatty acids from this animal source.
Purchase from a Trusted Source
I buy my wild caught Pacific Salmon from these 2 sources:
Purchase online through Vital Choice *
They follow FDA/CDC recommendations, which ensure the death of any and all parasites. The only salmon they purchase and sell are four species of wild Pacific salmon. Vital Choice assures no radiation PLUS they meet the EDF’s guidelines for eco friendly fishery practice AND lowest contaminant level and more. Take a look at the protocols that are followed by Vital Choice
Westlake Village Farmer’s Market
Patrick Ashby Fishermans Daughters Salmon sells his catches at the Westlake Village Farmers market on Sundays. He is working on his website. You can visit him at the Westlake Village Farmer’s Market or email him at info@FishermansDaughterSalmon.com. He takes off for a couple of months from June to catch the next batch. Tell him I sent ya.
I do hope that this information will help you know what options you have so that you can make the most informed decisions. I am not telling you how you should or shouldn’t do. For my full Disclaimer, please go to the Disclaimer page on my website http://barefoodangel.com/disclaimer/.
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