Tartare de saumon

Can You Eat Leftover Tartare the Next Day?

Is it safe to eat raw fish?

Are you a fan of raw fish dishes? If so, this article is for you! Do you love tartare or sushi so much that you want to have a portion left over for dinner the next day? But have you ever wondered if it’s safe?

What are the risks of eating raw fish?

Cooking fish kills parasites and bacteria in raw fish that can cause illness. However, many people prefer to eat it raw. You may be one of them. Because it is uncooked, fish can contain bacteria and parasites that can affect your health, so you need to be careful how you handle it before you eat it!

What parasites can be present in raw fish? 

Parasites are plants or animals that feed on other living organisms, known as hosts. Although the hosts serve as food for the parasites, they do not get any benefit from them in return. Some parasites do not cause symptoms in the short term. However, many can cause serious harm in the long term.

  • Large liver flukes, tapeworms and round worms can be found in raw fish!

Parasitic infections in humans are major health problems in tropical countries. Many of them are transmitted by infected water that is drunk or by poorly prepared food. Raw fish is an example and is no exception in Quebec. In fact, raw fish that is not properly handled for consumption without cooking carries several risks.

  • However, you can minimize the risk of contamination by purchasing raw fish from trusted restaurants or suppliers who have handled and prepared the fish properly.

What bacteria may be present in raw fish?  

Another risk associated with eating raw fish is food poisoning. Cooking fish destroys the bacteria. However, by eating raw fish, you run a certain risk, and you must pay particular attention to its handling before consumption.

In fact, the main symptoms of food poisoning are stomach pains, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

Harmful bacteria potentially found in raw fish include: Listeria, Vibrio, Clostridium and Salmonella. A study in the United States determined that 10 % of imported seafood and 3 % of domestic seafood tested positive for Salmonella.

For healthy individuals, the risk of poisoning from eating raw fish is generally low if handled properly. However, people with weak immune systems and pregnant women should avoid eating raw fish because of the risks associated with it.

How can I reduce the risks associated with eating raw fish?

Yes, it is possible to reduce the risks! Here’s how!

1. Eat only frozen fish

Freeze fish for one week at -20 °C or for 15 hours at -35 °C! This is an effective strategy for killing parasites. However, it is important to keep in mind that some home freezers are not able to reach these temperatures.

2. Examine your fish

Look at your fish before you eat it! This technique can be helpful. However, it may not be enough as many parasites are difficult to spot with the naked eye.

3. Buy your fish from reputable suppliers

Make sure you buy your fish from trusted restaurants or suppliers who handle and prepare fish properly.

4. Buy refrigerated fish

Only buy fish that is refrigerated or presented in a counter on ice.

5. Make sure the fish smells fresh

Don’t eat fish that smells sour or too fishy.

6. Don’t keep fresh fish too long!

If you don’t freeze your fish, keep it on ice in the fridge and eat it within a day of purchase.

Be careful! The longer you wait to eat your fish, the greater the risk of food poisoning.

Indeed, the growth of bacteria increases with time. It is therefore not recommended to eat raw fish the day after its purchase. The same goes for sushi and tartar!

7. Do not leave raw fish on the counter for too long!

Never leave raw fish on the counter too long. Fish should be kept on a bed of ice until it is removed from the fridge. Bacteria multiply extremely quickly at room temperature.

8. Wash your hands 

Wash your hands after preparing raw fish. This will prevent contamination of the food you prepare afterwards.

9. Clean work surfaces and utensils

Cleaning work surfaces and utensils will help prevent cross-contamination.

Are tartare and sushi healthy? 

There are some benefits to eating raw fish. Yes, there are!

First, raw fish is free of contaminants found in fried or grilled fish. For example, fish cooked at high temperatures may contain varying amounts of heterocyclic amines. Observational studies have associated high consumption of this contaminant with an increased risk of cancer.

Second, frying fish may decrease the amount of omega-3 fatty acids that fish contain, such as eicosapentaenoic acids (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acids (DHA). In short, some nutrients may be degraded when fish is cooked.

  • Finally, although raw fish has many health benefits, it must be part of a balanced meal to be considered “healthy”.

Now that you know the risks associated with eating raw fish, you can recognize that it is best not to eat sushi or tartar the day after it is prepared. The risk of bacterial contamination is higher if the raw fish is eaten late.