Many Salmon in the river appear to have red vent syndrome (anisakis) this season and with practically all of the Salmon being caught in the nets at Paxton – where the Tweed Foundation carries out its research tagging – seeming to suffer from it to quite a degree it is prudent to reiterate the guidance from Food Standards Agency (FSA) for those anglers and members of the general public who may wish to eat wild Salmon.
A raft of hygiene legislation sets out extensive legal requirements for food businesses that place fishery products on the market for human consumption. However, these requirements do not have force over the preparation and handling of food for ‘private or domestic’ use, or where small quantities of primary products are supplied to final consumers and local retail establishments. The catching of wild Salmon from UK rivers for personal or local consumption falls into these categories. Consequently the FSA are advising consumers of about hygiene practices to ensure that these products are safe to eat.
Parasites in fish, particularly red vent syndrome (anisakis), can, if ingested alive, cause serious health problems.Therefore the FSA recommends that anyone consuming wild salmon taken from UK rivers adheres to the following advice:
• Visually inspect the wild salmon to detect and remove parasites. Those fish which remain obviously contaminated should not be consumed.
• If wild salmon is to be eaten raw or almost raw it should be frozen in all parts for at least 24 hours, at a temperature of –20 Degrees C or colder. This will ensure that any non-visible parasites or undetectable larvae of nematodes are destroyed.
• This freezing advice also extends to wild salmon that are to undergo a cold smoking process or to be eaten after marinating or salting i.e. as in Gravadlax.
• Where wild salmon is to be hot smoked (internal temperature above 60 Degrees C), which is sufficient to kill any parasites present, then it is safe to eat without freezing first.
Where it is not possible to carry out adequate freezing it is advisable to cook the wild salmon. A temperature of 70 Degrees C for two minutes will kill any parasitic contamination present. As there is no infallible method of detecting and removing larvae, this advice is particularly relevant for pregnant women and elderly people, where ingestion of live parasites from fish could pose a serious health risk.
This guidance has been issued by the Food Standards Agency, January 2018