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The 7 questions about anisakis

He summer It is the season of the year in which the most fish is consumed. Both in your own home and in pubs and restaurants Fish is a highly requested product that is eaten in a thousand ways. However, it must be taken into account that up to 36% of the fish consumed in Spain contains a parasite that causes stomach flu and serious reactions allergic. This is anisakis, which dies when frying, roasting or freezing fish, but survives in other cases, such as sushi, Cevichethe anchovies in vinegar or even grilled sardines. What is it? Why do you get infected? What fish is it in? These are the 7 questions about him anisakis collected in a report of the OCU.

It’s a parasite of fish, usually live in it sea and if it ends up reaching you stomach You are likely to suffer from: Gastroenteritis: This may start up to 1 or 2 days after eating the contaminated fish. Stomach pain, vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, constipation... and in severe cases intestinal obstruction. Does not usually give fever.

Allergy: begins minutes or at most hours after eating the fish. You can stay in one mild hives or become more complicated, leading in extreme cases to a anaphylactic shock.

A combination of both conditions is also possible: gastric symptoms and then hives.

Anisakis comes to us through the fish we eat (hake, whiting, anchovies…). By looking closely it is possible to distinguish it with the naked eye.

In it fresh fish the parasite is alive and moving. When the fish dies it moves to the muscles and forms a cyst. If we eat raw, undercooked or marinated fish, the risk of ingesting it increases.

He parasite go dead if the fish fry or go through ovenbut you can continue alive if it is marinated either smoked. Even so, it is not necessary to freeze smoked salmon, since industrial processing eliminates the anisakis.

The mojama and the cod in salting They involve processes that kill the parasite. Another way to eliminate it is to freeze before consuming.

Because it’s trendy”?

It is due in part to the increasingly widespread practice of gut the fish in the high seas and throw their viscera into the water (other fish eat them and become infected, thus spreading the parasite).

Also influencing is the increase in allergic to anisakis and the fashion of sushi and other types of raw or undercooked fish.

How many fish and people does it affect?

According to the latest data, in Spain up to 36% of the fish has anisakis, especially that which comes from the Cantabrian Sea (50%) and is rarer in the Mediterranean (only 6%).

The number of allergy sufferers is practically impossible to measure, with data ranging between 6% and 56% of the population, although it seems clear that it is more common in the Cantabrian regions.

Not all fish have the same risk. They don’t have anisakis those of fresh water (trout, perch, carp…) and the risk is minimum in oysters, clams, cockles, mussels and seafood in general (even if they are consumed raw).

At the other extreme are the fish most commonly contaminated with the parasite: hake, sea bream, blue whiting, anchovies, pijota, whiting, redfish, haddock, cod, horse mackerel

In Spain, many cases are explained by the consumption of anchovies in vinegar and grilled sardines without gutting and undercooked.

Not all fish are equally contaminated: the parasite usually concentrates in the belly and abdominal area, while it is scarce in the tail.

Is it legal to sell fish with anisakis?

The law allows it and only considers its removal if the infestation is very evident (several larvae are not enough, no matter how visible they may be).

The fishmonger No You are bound to give you back he money even if when you get home you discover anisakis in your fish.