Fecal Contamination of Sushi

Fecal Contamination of Sushi
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The proportion of sushi that exceeds the national food standards guidelines for fecal bacteria levels.

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Remember that 24-hour flu you had last year? Well, there is no such thing as a 24-hour or 48-hour flu. There is no such thing as stomach flu. What you had is likely food poisoning. When someone gets hepatitis from eating a strawberry, the hepatitis didn’t come from the strawberry; they don’t even have little livers. As Dr. McDougall likes to point out, when is the last time we heard of someone getting Dutch elm disease, or a bad case of aphids?

Food poisoning comes from animals. Specifically, animal feces, and that manure runoff can contaminate sprout seeds, spinach, and other healthy plant foods. Still, that’s better than eating the manure directly. Animal products, particularly fish and poultry, can be covered in fecal bacteria. It’s so bad that while the federal government recommends that we wash our fruits and veggies, we’re not even supposed to rinse meat and poultry, for fear of the viral and bacterial splatter. Chicken carcasses are so covered in fecal matter that researchers at the University of Arizona found more fecal bacteria in the kitchen—on sponges, dish towels, and sink drains—than they found swabbing the toilet. Even after bleaching everything twice, in a meat-eater’s house, it is safer to lick the rim of the toilet seat than the kitchen countertop, because people aren’t preparing chickens in their toilets.

Frankly, you know that chicken juice isn’t juice; it’s raw fecal soup. And in terms of fish hygiene, researchers swabbed sushi for fecal bacteria. The national food standards guidelines for maximum fecal bacteria on ready-to-eat food items is 30,000. This is what they found. They also swabbed vegetarian sushi—avocado and cucumber rolls—and found zero fecal bacteria. Unlike salmon and tuna, avocado and cucumbers don’t have rectums.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by veganmontreal.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image thanks to htomren via Flickr.

Remember that 24-hour flu you had last year? Well, there is no such thing as a 24-hour or 48-hour flu. There is no such thing as stomach flu. What you had is likely food poisoning. When someone gets hepatitis from eating a strawberry, the hepatitis didn’t come from the strawberry; they don’t even have little livers. As Dr. McDougall likes to point out, when is the last time we heard of someone getting Dutch elm disease, or a bad case of aphids?

Food poisoning comes from animals. Specifically, animal feces, and that manure runoff can contaminate sprout seeds, spinach, and other healthy plant foods. Still, that’s better than eating the manure directly. Animal products, particularly fish and poultry, can be covered in fecal bacteria. It’s so bad that while the federal government recommends that we wash our fruits and veggies, we’re not even supposed to rinse meat and poultry, for fear of the viral and bacterial splatter. Chicken carcasses are so covered in fecal matter that researchers at the University of Arizona found more fecal bacteria in the kitchen—on sponges, dish towels, and sink drains—than they found swabbing the toilet. Even after bleaching everything twice, in a meat-eater’s house, it is safer to lick the rim of the toilet seat than the kitchen countertop, because people aren’t preparing chickens in their toilets.

Frankly, you know that chicken juice isn’t juice; it’s raw fecal soup. And in terms of fish hygiene, researchers swabbed sushi for fecal bacteria. The national food standards guidelines for maximum fecal bacteria on ready-to-eat food items is 30,000. This is what they found. They also swabbed vegetarian sushi—avocado and cucumber rolls—and found zero fecal bacteria. Unlike salmon and tuna, avocado and cucumbers don’t have rectums.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by veganmontreal.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image thanks to htomren via Flickr.

Doctor's Note

More on fecal contamination in animal products:

And check out the other videos on sushi.

Also see my associated blog post: Why is it Legal to Sell Unsafe Meat?

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

6 responses to “Fecal Contamination of Sushi

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  1. Dr. Greger: I’m a vegan but I feed my cats naturally (ie not the horrific commercial pet foods.) That means I am handling human-grade raw quail daily that I buy at Ranch 99. And I DO wash the quail or else my kitties could get blood on the floor. (It’s a job to make them eat the birds on the mats I lay down for them. They respond to real food like real animals and want to drag their prey off to a quiet corner. I wash my hands whenever I handle the raw quail and spray the sink and counter (and floor as necessary) with pure white vinegar. Is this enough? I can’t NOT handle raw meats if I am going to have kitties because the ingredients of canned commercial pet foods are toxic. Any recommendations?




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  2. So…I’ll be checking out in the grocery store *only* via the self-service registers from now on, where I can bring my own bags and make sure the foods don’t actually touch the register or those gross conveyor belts.

    Maybe also bring a clean plastic bag to lay on the scale when the produce is sold by weight rather than count…

    ugh.




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