No Anisakis have been found in farmed salmon intended for human consumption, according to a newly published report from NIFES.

In a nationwide survey, NIFES examined 4,184 farmed salmon for nematodes between January 2014 and August 2015. The fish originated from 37 salmon farms along the coast of Norway and represented all salmon-producing counties.The project was funded by the Norwegian Seafood Research Fund (FHF).

‘We didn’t find any Anisakis in the farmed salmon that is commercially available’,’ says NIFES scientist Arne Levsen.

Findings in runts

Anisakis was only found in a single runt (loser fish) from a farming facility in southern Norway. Runts of salmon are very different from their healthy kin, both in terms of size and general appearance, and are discarded early during processing. Runts will therefore never reach the consumer.

No need for freezing requirements for farmed salmon

EU and EEA regulations provide clear guidelines on how to handle fish that is to be eaten raw in order to prevent consumers from accidentally acquire Anisakis that could make them ill. Therefore, all wild-caught fish that is to be eaten raw must be frozen before consumption. Freezing the fish to a core temperature of minus 20 degrees Celsius for 24 hours or minus 35 degrees Celsius for 15 hours, will kill any Anisakis parasites that might be present in the product. Typical household preparation methods for wild fresh fish, such as frying and poaching/boiling, will also kill Anisakis.

The exception of farmed salmon from the freezing requirement rests on the fact that they are exclusively given strongly heated and processed dry-feed which cannot contain viable Anisakis, or any other parasites. The new report from NIFES thus confirms the results of previous studies and clearly suggests that the risk of farmed Norwegian salmon products to contain any Anisakis, is very low.

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