Health Risk in Eating Smoked Fish


ONE of the healthy ways to cook fish is by smoke. However, there are certain risk factors to consider before you include smoked fish in your diet aside from salty indulgence.

Smoked fish can produce certain bacteria and parasites and food poisoning is likely to happen when eaten in large quantities.

* Listeria poisoning. Smoked fish is most often served in palapok or as appetizer. One possible hazard is the production of listeria monocytogenes, a rare but severe disease called listeriosis. This disease more commonly occurs in people with weaker or compromised immune systems.

Eating smoked fish can also be risky for women who are pregnant . Symptoms include nausea and vomiting or blood infection or inflammation of the covering of the brain. Infection during early pregnancy often results in miscarriage.

* Histamine poisoning. Cold smoked fish such as tuna, mackerel, herring and anchovies can produce biogenic amines including histamines. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, hypo-tension, headache, palpitations and rashes.

Histamine poisoning, while unpleasant at any level can be mild to severe, but severe cases only occur when very large doses are consumed.

Some studies suggest that consuming large amounts of smoked meat can increase the risk of certain cancers, specifically colon and stomach cancer.

The reason for these claims is that, after the meat or fish goes through the smoking process, it contains nitrite and nitrate salts, which have been linked to certain cancers and high blood pressure in high doses.

How to reduce the risk of poisoning? Ask the seller where the smoked fish was made, stored and handled. Freezing the raw fish before the smoking process greatly reduces risk factors of contamination by parasites.

Salt brines for salted fish must contain between 3.5 to five percent salt. When fish is cold smoked, it must be prepared in a uniform shape and size to ensure proper smoke absorption throughout the whole fish.

(source: Journal Online)
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