Tuna fish parasite

In this brief guide, we will be shedding light on “tuna fish parasites”. We will further elaborate on the nutritional profile of tuna fish as well as the health benefits and risks associated with eating tuna fish. 

What parasites are retained in tuna fish?

Tuna fish may retain parasites, such as Opisthorchiidae and Anisakadie, that can lead to infections in humans.

Although tuna is rich in nutrients, consuming it raw may pose some health risks.

Based on the species, parasites in raw tuna fish can cause food poisoning, characterised by infections of the intestine that induce diarrhoea, vomiting, fever, and other related symptoms. 

One analysis discovered that 64 percent of samples of young Pacific bluefin tuna isolated from Japanese waters were contaminated with a parasite Kudoa hexapunctata, which causes diarrhoea in humans.

One further analysis reported similar outcomes and demonstrated that isolates of both bluefin and yellowfin tuna from the Pacific ocean retained other parasites from the Kudoa group which are responsible for causing foodborne diseases in humans.

Lastly, an analysis of tuna from the water bodies on the coast of Iran discovered that 89 per cent of the isolates were contaminated with parasites that can adhere to the human gut and intestines, resulting in anisakiasis, a condition characterised by stools (which may be bloody), vomiting, and abdominal discomfort.

The probability of infection from the parasites retained in tuna is mostly based upon where the fish is hunted. In addition, handling and preparation can decide if parasites get transmitted.

Most of the parasites can be destroyed through cooking or freezing. On that account, parasitic infections present in raw tuna can be controlled by appropriate handling.

What is the nutritional profile of tuna?

Tuna is a saltwater fish that is incorporated in cooking worldwide.

They exist in many different types, that include light tuna, white tuna, yellowfin, bluefin, and bigeye. All of these vary in size, colour, and flavour.

A 56 gram serving of albacore tuna provides:

  • Calories: 70 Kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 0 g
  • Protein: 13 g
  • Fat: 2 g

Tuna is a very nutritional, lean protein. It is fairly rich in protein, with a lower amount of calories, which implies that it helps to keep you full for a long time, preventing weight gain. 

Much of the fat in tuna is provided by omega-3s, which are essential for the heart and brain and may assist in fighting inflammation. The omega-3 fatty acids are also helpful for eye health.

Tuna also consists of iron, potassium, and vitamin B. Among the B vitamins, it is rich in vitamin B12, which is important for making DNA. Vitamin B12 also supports the formation of new RBCs and prevents the risk of anaemia.

Furthermore, tuna is a great source of selenium, that functions as an antioxidant and may lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases and other chronic illnesses.

Canned tuna is cooked while it is processed, whereas fresh tuna is usually served raw.

Raw tuna is commonly added in sashimi, a Japanese delicacy consisting of a mixture of rice, raw fish, vegetables, and seaweed.

How to safely consume raw tuna?

The best practice to avoid parasitic infections from tuna is to avoid consuming it raw or undercooked. Cooking tuna is the best approach to do away with parasites and reduce the risk of food poisoning. Having said that, some measures can help you safely enjoy raw tuna.

It is recommended by the FDA to freeze raw tuna by following ways to eradicate parasites:

  • freezing at -4℉ or less for 7 days
  • freezing at -31℉ or less until solid and keeping at -31℉ or less for 15 hrs.
  • freezing at -31℉ or less until solid and keeping at -4℉ or less for 24 hrs

Frozen raw tuna must be thawed out in the fridge prior to its use.

Observing this method will presumably destroy most parasites, but a slight risk still remains that not all parasites were eradicated.

Many cafes that serve sushi or other dishes of raw tuna obey the FDA guidelines regarding freezing.

If you are worried about the way your raw tuna was cooked, request more details and make sure to only have raw tuna from reliable eateries.

If you intend to make a raw tuna recipe by yourself, find a reliable fishmonger who is familiar with the source of the fish and its handling.

What are other risks associated with tuna?

Tuna fish reserve poisonous mercury in their flesh as an impact of industrial pollution. When consumed in excess, it can lead to mercury poisoning. The symptoms of mercury poisoning include finger curling, mental impairment, and coordination issues.

Other FAQs about Tuna that you may be interested in.

What is the difference between bluefin and yellowfin tuna?

Can I feed my cat canned tuna?

How to freeze tuna steaks?


In this brief guide, we have described “tuna fish parasites”. We have further elaborated on the nutritional profile of tuna fish as well as the health benefits and risks associated with eating tuna fish.