Wednesday, August 28, 2013
IS CEVICHE SAFE FOR PREGNANT WOMEN?
Ceviche is a very popular Latin American dish made of raw fish and/or shellfish which is marinated in lime or lemon juice. In Peru, where I lived for several years, it is usually served with thinly sliced onions, chili peppers and with corn on the cob and/or sweet potatoes. But of course, there are variations, particularly as the dish is increasingly copied and adapted by chefs all over the world.
The theory is that the citrus juice will lightly "cook" the fish or shellfish as it sits in the refrigerator for a few hours. It does indeed change proteins in the seafood, but unfortunately it doesn't kill bacteria or parasites, and believe me, there can be plenty of them in raw seafood.
Shellfish ceviche can be particularly risky, since the majority of seafood-caused food poisoning is caused by raw shellfish.
So should pregnant women eat ceviche? The answer is "no." This also applies to anyone who is serious about avoiding food poisoning.
And here's a confession: I love ceviche. But I have now become ill from it twice, the last time in Peru, when I went back for a wedding. My Peruvian friend persuaded me to eat it, although I was reluctant. She assured me that this high-end restaurant was safe. I didn't want to hurt her feelings, although I knew better. NO ceviche is safe. Of course, in retrospect, I wish I hadn't eaten it. It was delicious, but I got a nasty parasite from it. Sadly, I have now given up ceviche.
To your good health,