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How effective is freezing at killing Anisakis simplex, Pseudoterranova krabbei, and P. decipiens larvae? An experimental evaluation of time-temperature conditions

Podolska, Magdalena, Pawlikowski, Bogusław, Nadolna-Ałtyn, Katarzyna, Pawlak, Joanna, Komar-Szymczak, Katarzyna, Szostakowska, Beata
Parasitology research 2019 v.118 no.7 pp. 2139-2147
Anisakis simplex, Clupea harengus, Gadus morhua, Pseudoterranova decipiens, cod (fish), control methods, fish fillets, freezers, freezing, health hazards, herring, ingestion, larvae, malachite green, marine fish, parasites, product safety, temperature, thawing, viability, Baltic Sea
The consumption of raw or inadequately cooked marine fish can lead to several disorders caused by the ingestion of viable anisakid nematodes. Although anisakid larvae can be killed by subzero temperatures, making freezing an important control measure for this potential health hazard, these parasites can survive freezing under some conditions. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to experimentally evaluate the time-temperature conditions needed to kill Anisakis simplex and Pseudoterranova spp. The effectiveness of freezing was tested on two species of fish: cod, Gadus morhua from the North Atlantic, and herring, Clupea harengus membras from the southern Baltic Sea. Samples, which comprised skinless fillets of cod (n = 40) with visible parasites and whole herring (n = 240), were separately frozen at − 15, − 18, or − 20 °C for 24 h, or at − 20 °C for 48 h in the single-compressor freezer and at − 20, − 25, or − 35 °C for 24 h in the double-compressor freezer. After thawing, parasites were stained with malachite green and examined under the microscope for viability. All A. simplex and Pseudoterranova spp. larvae in cod fillets died at a temperature of − 15 °C or lower. However, freezing did not kill all the A. simplex larvae in whole herring: spontaneous movement of these parasites was observed in samples stored in the single-compressor freezer at − 15, − 18, and − 20 °C over 24 h. Our results demonstrate that the freezing procedure must consider both the capability of the freezing device and the nature of the fish product to ensure consumer safety.