No, No. I’m not done with you yet. A few days ago, we gave you the straight skinny on the parasitic worms that can pop out of your eyeballs if you eat sushi without seaweed and wasabi. Next, we’re going to continue the theme of “eating like the natives” but go down into mexico and give you the heavy, caustic, and heart stopping truth about why Mexicans don’t drink Margaritas with their Puerto Nuevo Lobster (while gringos do).
But before that, let’s wake a sleeping giant. We mentioned seaweed and wasabi but we never did touch on the ginger at your favorite sushi purveyor. Could those wiley Japanese have a medicinal reason for including ginger in their sushi meals?
Yes, Yes. If you’ve ever noticed the cutting board your local sushi chef uses, it’s generally wooden. Wood is fiberous. Fibers create microscopic strongholds for bacteria. The number one bacteria found on these cutting boards is Salmonella.
The CDC reports: We estimate that foodborne diseases cause approximately 76 million illnesses, 325,000 hospitalizations, and 5,000 deaths in the United States each year. Known pathogens account for an estimated 14 million illnesses, 60,000 hospitalizations, and 1,800 deaths.
Three pathogens, Salmonella, Listeria, and Toxoplasma, are responsible for 1,500 deaths each year, more than 75% of those caused by known pathogens, while unknown agents account for the remaining 62 million illnesses, 265,000 hospitalizations, and 3,200 deaths. Overall, foodborne diseases appear to cause more illnesses but fewer deaths than previously estimated.
More than 200 known diseases are transmitted through food.
Some Fun Facts About Salmonella and Sushi
1. Salmonella can be “resurrected” after years of dormancy on a dry wooden cutting board.
2. Sushi chefs do not use plastic cutting boards because sushi tastes better when cut on wood.
3. That fresh sushi can be as old as two weeks old.
4. Sushi chefs use rice paper then plastic wrap to store sushi after you leave so bacteria will have less organic liquid to spawn.
5. Hydrogen Peroxide will kill sushi bacteria on wooden cutting boards but ruins flavor upon use.
BONUS: 6. Ginger has natural anti-bacterial antibiotic properties that kill salmonella. Eat ginger raw when you have a sore throat to kill the bacteria in your mucus which reduces the swelling in your tonsils.
EXTRA BONUS 7. Truly high end sushi restaurants will actually clean their cutting boards by sanding them down with micro fine grit paper so that bacteria can’t hide anywhere.
Basically, when in Rome, eat like the Romans. I shake my head when I see parents that take their kids to sushi then let the kids pick and choose what they want to eat. I just shake my head.
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