According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago resident Anthony Franz is suing a local restaurant over a salmon salad served to him back in August 2006. He allegedly “became violently ill for several days” after eating the salmon and later “passed a 9-foot tapeworm.” The Sun-Times says:
The lawsuit against Shaw’s Crab House, 21 E. Hubbard, and its parent company, Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, claims the restaurant’s staff was negligent in serving him undercooked fish.
Franz, who was not available for comment, wants more than a refund. He’s seeking $100,000 for his pain, suffering, lost time from work and ‘lost enjoyment of life.’
In a story for Gourmet.com, Jon Rowley shares a few more horror stories about Diphyllobothrium latum, the “largest human tapeworm,” which is “carried by freshwater fish (including anadromous wild salmon, which spend their early lives in fresh water).” And as Jasmine Pahl noted in her CHOW feature on the dangers of raw fish, “Most varieties of fish, both wild and farmed, are prone to parasites.” Both Rowley and Pahl share guidelines for cooking or freezing fish in order to kill those pesky parasites, but how do you know if all the raw salmon you’ve eaten at restaurants has been previously frozen? Rowley has a little bit of comforting news: “Japanese chefs, at least those who have passed the exam that is required for opening a restaurant in Japan, never serve fresh salmon raw or lightly seared—’has to be frozen for sushi,’ stresses sushi master Shiro Kashiba, of Shiro’s Sushi Restaurant in Seattle.”
Unfortunately, as that fellow from Chicago found out the hard way, not every restaurant prefreezes its raw salmon. It’s pretty gross to think about, but as someone who has consumed quite a bit of deli-counter sushi during lunch breaks in Midtown Manhattan, I’m kind of surprised I haven’t had a tapeworm nightmare of my own—and none of the adventurous eaters in my life have acquired parasites from raw fish, either.