A recent study by Hawaiian researchers linked the consumption of raw tuna to a salmonella outbreak on the islands in late 2007 and early 2008. Salmonella is very rare in fish, so the study has made widespread headlines. The vector is unknown, but the researchers said most of the cases could be linked to eating the Hawaiian specialty ahi poke made with frozen, imported tuna.
Why Hawaiians were eating imported tuna is beyond me: We on the Mainland get a lot of our tuna from Hawaii. Go figure.
What are the takeaways from this story?
First, one small Salmonella outbreak compared to the millions of tons of tuna eaten raw every year actually shows just how safe most raw fish is; think about what might happen if Americans ate several million pounds of raw factory-farmed chicken?
Second, this is another case study in why you should buy American seafood if at all possible.
And third, it is important to know some basic rules and tips when choosing fish and seafood for sushi, sashimi or any other raw preparation.
Will I be eating raw tuna soon? You bet.