Q: The media recently reported that Alaska salmon is now contaminated with tapeworm. Is that true?
No. Alaska Salmon is the same fresh, nutritious and healthy fish it has always been and you can continue to enjoy it without worry. What you likely saw was an article referencing a scientific study about tapeworm species. Unfortunately, the original news story misinterpreted the study turning it into a cautionary food safety issue. Alaska seafood providers are committed to delivering high-quality, safe seafood. All commercially harvested Alaska seafood is processed in accordance with FDA guidelines, which include specific measures about parasite control.
Q: Do I need to prepare salmon differently now?
No. You can rest assured that the Alaska salmon that you buy or order at restaurants has been treated in accordance with federal food safety standards. 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. For raw or semi-raw preparations, such as sushi and ceviche, ASMI recommends using properly frozen seafood. This is required by FDA guidelines and followed by commercial processors in Alaska.
Q: Is it safe to eat Alaska salmon?
Absolutely. Alaska salmon is among the highest quality seafood and safe for consumer consumption.
Q: Can you tell me more about this study?
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. 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. This particular fish is not bound for the fresh sushi market.