Tapeworms and Flukes

Appears in
On Food and Cooking

By Harold McGee

Published 2004

  • About

Larvae of the tapeworm Diphyllobothrium latum, which can grow in the human intestine to as long as 27 feet/9 meters, are found in freshwater fish of temperate regions worldwide. Notable among these is the whitefish, which caused many infections when home cooks made the traditional Jewish dish gefilte fish and tasted the raw mix to correct the seasoning.

More serious hazards are a number of flukes, or flatworms, which are carried by fresh- and brackish-water crayfish, crabs, and fish. They damage the human liver and lungs after being consumed in such live Asian delicacies as “jumping salad” and “drunken crabs.”