Today in Cymothoa exigua news

"Health experts said the batch of fish was below expected standards."

Parasites that sever and pose as fish tongues have been uncovered by port staff in a shipment heading into Felixstowe. [...]

"After checking more cartons, it was apparent that most of the seabream were infested, so we denied the consignment's entry into the UK. From there the importer can choose to have it destroyed or sent back to them, and in this case they chose the latter."

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15 Responses:

  1. Tyler says:

    The part that scares me the most is that they wanted it returned instead of destroyed.

    • jwz says:

      That clearly means that they think they can sell this batch to someone else.

      I'm curious, though, does a bug-tongue make the fish toxic, if you don't eat the tongue? Is the bug-tongue itself even bad for you? Sure, it's gross, but there IS an acceptable percentage of rat-shit in your cereal.

      • david konerding says:

        No, it's not harmful.  They do not sting or bite and are not poisonous.  The most economic thing would be to turn it into fertilizer or animal feed.  I'm not sure what the federal standards for bug-tongues in animal feed are.

      • Glaurung says:

        The tongue parasites are harmless to humans. Some places serve the parasites as a delicacy. There's no real reason to ban the fish - it's food hygiene theater.

    • Dave says:

      Also scary:  they only inspected it because the paperwork was missing.  

  2. Porcupine Club says:

    There's a Charlie Stross book in which this sort of parasite attaches itself to evangelicals…

  3. tfb says:

    The most alarming part of this is that it is almost certainly a goal of the current UK government to remove the checks that would catch this sort of thing.  Because, you know, eating fish parasites is one of the sunlit uplands we are all no gambolling in.

    The UK government, of course, has itself been hollowed-out and is now merely the husk of a democracy, worn like a glove puppet by the great pulsing white tapeworm that is the johnsonites: a worm which exists only to devour its still-living host from within in order to produce more segments of itself, to be excreted in due course by the husk it occupies that it may parasitise other hosts in turn.

    • Elusis says:

      "The invisible hand of the free market" is supposed to handle all of that. Once you've eaten a fish tongue parasite and decide you don't like it, you can refuse to buy from the people who sold it to you in the future!  

    • phuzz says:

      Bloody EU! Trying to stop us from eating fish tongue parasites with their bloody Brussels regulations!

  4. Adolf Osborne says:

    I hate that these bugs are things that exist, but:  I do eat fish, but I buy fish that are cleaned and filleted instead of whole.  I'm reasonably certain that I've eaten many fish that once included these bugs.

    That said:  It would probably scare me if I did buy a whole fish and found one of these guys hanging out.  It would probably very very, very offensive to me for a bit.

    And then I'd like to think that I'd get over it soon enough, chop the head off, and continue with meal prep with my now-headless fish.

    And I do catch my own fish from time to time.  If I caught a fish with  one of these monsters, I think I'd actually feel pretty good about cutting that part off and sending it to the compost pile:  I know they were both alive and thriving when caught, and I'm OK with dismissing the interluder.

    Not that it'd be anywhere near the parts of the fish that I normally keep, anyway:  While I do not buy whole fish, I also do not cook whole fish even if I've caught them myself.

    And there were assuredly way weirder things headed down that fish's mouth-hole than the parasitic bug could ever be construed as being, as that fish ate random weird stuff and eventually grew up to be big enough to eat.

    (That said I do like the legit scare-porn.  Please continue.  I didn't even know these things existed until you first posted about them well over a decade ago.)

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