Worms in Your Farm-Raised Salmon? Facts & Myths Revealed

As a Certified Health Coach many people ask about salmon including, can farm-raised salmon have worms?

Farm-raised Salmon can have worms and the most common are called herring worms. All farm-raised and wild-caught fish can carry worms, regardless of their species. You shouldn’t be overly concerned about it, but you should be aware and know how to prevent it.

We are taking an in-depth look at farm-raised Salmon, including how to prevent them and what happens if you do eat them! So, for everything you need to know, keep reading.

Can Farm-Raised Salmon Have worms?

farm-raised salmon on a cutting board.
Farm raised salmon

We live in a time where we are more connected to knowledge than ever before. We can get information within seconds by just tapping on our smartphones. That does have its benefits but it also allows for the spread of misinformation or, at least, the misrepresentation of the truth.

Farm-raised Salmon can contain worms. The worms found in salmon are called “herring worms” and they are also found in a lot of other species of fish and it does not matter if they are wild or farmed raised1. Farm-raised Salmon can also contain Tapeworms2.

Is the problem as bad as some people might lead you to believe? No, in fact, reported cases of people finding worms in their Salmon is rare. That being said, there were very few reports of people falling ill from eating Salmon that had worms.

There is no scientific evidence that suggests that farm-raised Salmon are more likely to carry worms. The research that is being done, suggests that farm-raised Salmon has more chance of carrying toxins that can be found in their fish feed. 

Fact: Farm-raised salmon can contain parasites but it is rare. The problem is not as bad as is sometimes made out to be.

Myth: Farm-Raised Salmon all carry worms.

Why do farm-raised Salmon get worms

If you do work for or run a Salmon farm, and you have a worm problem, it might be your fault. Even if you didn’t know it. Knowing why the fish get worms is the first step in solving the problem. Let’s take a quick look at some of the reasons why your Salmon farm might have a worm problem.

The most common cause for worms in farm-raised Salmon has to do with their diet. You should not feed your Salmon raw fish as this is the easiest way for Salmon to get worms. Salmon that have spent a large portion of their life in freshwater also have the risk of introducing tapeworms to farms.

All living life can have parasites, they may remain unsuspected in fish until the fish dies. So, when you start throwing chunks of raw meat into your Salmon farm, you could be throwing meat that is infested with worms. You cannot always see the worms and that is something to consider.

There are two main types of worms that you could be infesting your fish with, “Tapeworms” and “Herring worms”. Tapeworms are more dangerous to humans of the two3.

If you introduce wild Salmon into your farm and that Salmon has spent a lot of time in freshwater, they might be carrying Tapeworms or at least the larvae.

Fact: Feeding Salmon Raw fish and introducing wild Salmon into your farm is the main cause of worms in your Salmon.

Myth: Farm-raised Salmon get worms from being in enclosed waters.

Cooked farm raised salmon dinner.
Cooked farm raised salmon

How to prevent your Salmon from having worms

For the consumer: How to prevent worms in your Salmon

Depending on where you live, your Sushi was most probably frozen before being served. Most people might be shocked to hear that. For some places in the United States, any food that is being served raw must be frozen first, by law4. I wanted to get that out of the way quickly. So, eating Sushi is generally safe.

The chances of your farm-raised Salmon containing worms are low but, you should always take measures to prevent this. Always freeze your fish for at least a full day before eating it. Freezing the fish will kill any parasites.

If you buy fish from “fresh fish markets” chances are, it has already been frozen but you could just make sure.

When cooking farm-raised Salmon that has not been frozen, make sure that you cook it properly. It is recommended that you bring the fish to a temperature of at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit ( 63 degrees Celsius ) for at least 20 seconds. This is to ensure that all parasites are killed5.

( Read my blog post: Frozen Salmon vs. Canned Salmon: Which is Better? )

For the Farmer: How to prevent worms in your Salmon

As we mentioned above, there are two common causes of why your Salmon farm might become infested with worms6. Prevention is always the best method in solving problems like this. So, how do you prevent worms in your farm-raised Salmon?

Only feed your Salmon high-quality Salmon feed. The best, in my experience, is Norwegian Salmon feed. Do not feed them raw fish at all. Do not introduce wild Salmon into your farm as they might be carrying Tapeworms from freshwater.

Fact: Freezing your farm-raised Salmon or cooking it properly will kill any unwanted parasites.

Myth: Sushi is bad for you because it has parasites.

What if you eat salmon that has worms

Have you ever eaten a Fig? If you have, well, you have probably eaten dead wasps. Ever eaten a Strawberry? Chances are, if you have, you have eaten a parasite. My point is, all foods can have some sort of parasite. It does not matter if it is vegetables, fruits, red meat, seafood, or chicken. Foods need to be prepared properly.

If your Salmon was not properly prepared and you eat a worm or any other parasite, you can experience nausea, vomiting, fever, and diarrhea. In most cases though, nothing happens ((University of Washington: Sushi parasites have increased 283-fold in past 40 years)).

Most people who are unfortunate enough to eat a Salmon with worms in it, probably don’t even know about it. At the same time, you could get sick. If you have just eaten anything and start to feel ill, the recommendation is going to the Doctor. Only a small number of cases need to see the Doctor but better safe than sorry.

Fact: All foods should be prepared properly as they all have the risk of having parasites.

Myth: Everyone who eats a farm-raised Salmon with worms will get sick.

If you have any questions to ask me about this article don’t hesitate to comment below or email us. You can find an email on our contact page.

Read Next – More Foods For Anti-Aging

Do Organic Blueberries Have Worms?

21 Best Anti-Aging Vegetables for a Healthier You

How to Choose Good Blueberries: The Complete Guide

  1. CDC: Parasites – Anisakiasis []
  2. CDC: Tapeworm Larvae in Salmon from North America []
  3. CBC: Packed full of worms: Parasites wriggling in fish no cause for panic, experts say []
  4. Huffington Post: There’s A Good Chance Your Sushi Was Made With Previously Frozen Fish []
  5. CDC: Anisakiasis (or Herring worm disease)FAQs []
  6. USDA: Parasites []

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