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Food Poisoning from Sushi

Food Poisoning from Sushi

Sushi food poisoning is a common situational problem, since there are many factors that go into eating raw seafood...
Naomi Sarah
Last Updated: Mar 12, 2018
Sushi is a Japanese delicacy which is eaten with vinegared rice, wrapped in nori, which is seaweed, in order to eliminate one's fingers from getting all sticky. It is believed that it isn't actually a dish that was first started by the Japanese, but is definitely one of their strongest dishes when cooking. The seafood that is included within a sushi is either shellfish, or raw fish, tucked in within the sushi's other ingredients.

This is then eaten raw, with soy sauce (shoyu in Japanese), or wasabi, which is a spicy, tangy sauce, eaten also with a variant of different types of sushi. Often asked the question, 'can you get food poisoning from sushi?' - the answer is yes you can. Due to the dish's style of preparation, there are certain drawbacks when eating this.

Bacteria that Cause Sushi Food Poisoning

There are certain types of bacteria that cause food poisoning, and these can be classified under the following types.
  • Staphylococcus aureus, which can come about from the rice that is placed within a sushi roll. If rice is not quickly chilled after it is made, the possibility of bacteria forming is high. Being in room temperature, it is possible for sushi to have these bacteria settle on them, when left too long in the open.
  • Anisakiasis is a disease that one can get from eating raw fish. This comes about due to a parasitic worm called Aniskidae, which is found in its larvae form in sushi, and sashimi (sliced raw fish dish, eaten plain with sauce).
  • Due to the presence of contaminants, like mercury, pregnant women and those who have a weak immune system, must avoid consuming raw fish.
  • Salmonella is a common bacterium which people contract through food poisoning, from eating raw fish in sushi. It can be a serious condition, with symptoms lasting for three to four days, leading to what is called 'gastroenteritis', which needs medical attention.
Symptoms of Food Poisoning Caused by Sushi

The symptoms that one gets from food poisoning, are pretty much similar to most cases of food poisoning. One needs to be really careful how meals are cooked, and handled, in order to stay clear from these bacteria, to avoid the following signs of sushi food poisoning.
  • Feeling fatigued
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Sensations of nausea
  • Lack of appetite
  • Cramps in the stomach
  • Vomiting blood later on
  • Pain in the stomach becomes unbearable
  • Passing blood through stool
  • Body temperature is higher than 101.5°F
  • Less urination or the absence of it
  • Lightheadedness
You need to seek immediate help when these symptoms persist, or get worse as time lapses. You cannot afford to lose time and expect antibiotics to work at that point in time.

Safeguarding Against Food Poisoning

For those of you who prepare sushi at home, or in a restaurant, there are certain guidelines that must be followed religiously, every time you set out to make sushi or any other meat-based dish. In order to keep yourself and others out of harm's way, these helpful tips will suffice.
  • Keep two separate cutting boards, one to cut your vegetables, and the other for meats.
  • 165°F is the ideal temperature when cooking seafood/chicken/other meats on the gas.
  • Anything that is perishable in nature must be refrigerated.
  • Disinfect utensils that have previously been cooked with meat, before making other veg dishes in the same ones.
  • Keep hands and counters clean at all times before cooking.
  • Wash cutting boards every once in a while with a bleach water solution, to disinfect it.
  • Avoid cooking if you have a severe cold, or are down with the flu.
  • Avoid putting food in containers that aren't air tight.
  • Reheat food on the gas, instead of the microwave to ensure that it evenly heats up.
  • If you notice green/white moldy looking patches on food, immediately dispose of them, including the foods that were near it.
  • Avoid foods in public places where it has been kept out in the open for a long time, especially in buffets. Eat it as soon as it is out of the kitchen, as opposed to much later.
Food poisoning can be avoided, if you limit your indulgence when it comes to eating this dish. It can save you a lot of trouble by eating it in limited amounts. It is raw meat at the end of the day, and needs to be approached with great caution. A good suggestion would be to not attempt making sushi at home if you aren't familiar with the recipe, or eat at good restaurants, with sushi chefs that can guarantee a no-poisoning episode.