Friday, June 11, 2010

Fish worms: Rav Eliashiv rules leniently on herring only

5 Towns Jewish Times

In a series of meetings with Rabbi Moshe Mordechai Karp and  others, both on Tuesday and today, Thursday, Rav Elyashiv Shlita issued two rulings:  He firmly reaffirmed the prohibition of consuming all fish species that have the Anisakis water nematode (worm) and he also ruled, however, that herring are permitted lechatchila.

According to both Rabbi Karp and others present, Rav Elyashiv stressed that the Anisakis is forbidden because of the clear evidence that it’s origin is clearly from outside of the flesh of the fish and are thus considered Sheretz HaMayim.  Other worms that develop inside the flesh of the fish are permitted, however, and fall under the rubric of the Talmudic dispensation of “Minei Gavli” (See tractate Chullin 67b).

The permissive ruling on the herring, according to Rabbi Karp was based up, at least, two factors:[...]


  1. R' DE - Youur blog, oddly, is only showing 3 posts on the main page.

  2. Excuse me, only showing 4 posts. It used to show more, and hsould show more for readability.

  3. Actually it showed four on my computer which is what I set it for. I just increased it to 7.

    thanks for ffeedback

  4. If I am understanding this ruling, it applies to all SPECIES that might possibly be infected with anisakis:

    All cod species,
    Atlantic Cod
    Farm raised Salmon become infested because their feed is infested

    So basically this leaves wild caught salmon from Alaska and herring as the only kosher fish species?

  5. The distinction between herring and other fish seems tenuous at best. One wonders if this was politically influenced as banning herring would likely result in most chasidishe poskim rulling that the Anisakis worm is not a problem.

  6. Quite the opposite Sarah,

    Farmed salmon generally are not infested while wild Alaskan are very infested.

    Farmed salmon can still have other types of parasites like sea lice.


    What started as an innocent sushi meal for one Santa Barbara resident turned into something far worse: a bout with anisakiasis, a parasitic infection that nearly killed her and made her unique as the first person in the country to ever contract this disease.

    The infection nearly killed Alana Tillim, owner of Santa Barbara Dance Arts, and required the removal of her colon and part of her intestines for treatment in 2002.

    After spending two weeks in the hospital and dropping to 85 pounds, Tillim survived, and will be dramatically reenacting her ordeal Wednesday at 10 p.m. on Animal Planet for the show Monsters Inside Me.

    “As the very first person in the U.S. to get this, I was sort of a case study,” said Tillim, who is now completely healthy after fighting complications from the parasite in 2004.

    The infection was caused by anisakis simplex, a parasite that usually resides in the stomachs of marine animals but can be transmitted to humans who eat undercooked seafood, according to information from the Center For Disease Control and Prevention.

    In Tillim’s case, the mass that was removed from her digestive system was a combination of the parasite, which was about a centimeter long, and the cells used by her body to fight the infection.

    “The real message is that this can happen to anyone, anywhere,” Tillim said.

  8. While Rav Elyashev shlita speaks of miut sheaino matzuy, there is still a remote sakana.

    A Federal agency called the National Center for Biotechnology Information, a division of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), says anisakis can survive even in pickled herring to infect people.

    Anisakiasis is a zoonotic disease caused by the ingestion of larval nematodes in raw seafood dishes such as sushi, sashimi, ceviche, and pickled herring. Symptoms of anisakiasis include abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Because symptoms are vague, this disease is often misdiagnosed as appendicitis, acute abdomen, stomach ulcers, or ileitis. Endoscopic examination with biopsy forceps has facilitated the diagnosis of gastric anisakiasis. Worms can be removed and identified, and a definitive diagnosis can be made. Patients generally recover with no further evidence of disease. Worms can become invasive, however, and migrate beyond the stomach, penetrating the intestine, omentum, liver, pancreas, and probably the lungs. Surgery is often necessary for treatment of invasive anisakiasis. With the increase in popularity of eating lightly cooked or raw fish dishes, the number of cases of anisakiasis may be expected to increase.

    Anisakis from herring was first recognized in Holland in the 1960s and later in Japan where it was recognized as a national health problem.

  9. I don't get it. If you have a piece of wild salmon and you cut it and you can't find any evidence of anisakis then why is this any different to pickled herring? What does the process of pickling do? Does it "kill" them? Does it wash them away?

    Someone explain.

    R' Belsky and R' Yechezkel Roth I can understand. It's about where the worm gains its nourishment that is the key, not where it came from. The idea of where it came from is linked to where it gets its nourishment but the latter is the determinant not the former.

    Don't get me wrong. I love herring but my eyes don't understand why say schmaltz herring isn't okay and pickled herring is, or indeed if all herring is okay except "raw".

    What of snap freezing which is common for all fish!


    Scroll down through the comments for information on Star K hashgocho involvement in venues of chilul Shabbos and that are pro-toyeva.

  11. This entire topic is ridiculous. Jewish people have been eating these fish forever.

    It's a chutzpah for Rav Elyashiv to suddenly decide he knows better than all the Gedolim who ever preceded him.

    It's not as though Rav Elyashiv is famed for his scientific knowledge and understanding of biology.

    Thanks to rulings such as this, I know of entire Jewish communities who no longer eat berries or fish. The doctors who treat these people for their vitamin and mineral deficiency caused ailments are incredulous that our Rabbis would lead us down such a self-destructive. It's a chilul Hashem.

  12. Syms Covington is using the same dishonest talking points as the Failed apikores blogger.

    First you attack Rav Elyashev whenever possible because when trying to discredit Torah Judaism, you go for the head.

    There are other fruits and sources for the nutrients found in in strawberries and raspberries. Strawberries can still be eaten if peeled and both can be pureed according to everyone except one shita.

    Most fish we eat today is farmed, so nice try to badmouth the gadol hador.

    This is besides the point that he is either ignorant or chooses to ignore that the metzius has changed since R' Moishe Feinstein poskened.

  13. Fraud detector....I don't apologize. People listening to rulings such as this have practically eliminated greens from their diets, berries, and now most fish. Rav Elyashev didn't limit his ruling to only farmed fish. He's banning entire species regardless of how they are raised. If I'm wrong about that, please show me the quote.

    I'd never try to discredit Torah Judaism.

    Rulings made in ignorance, whether it's about our fish or Indian hair wigs, aren't Torah Judaism, regardless of who makes them.

    Silly rulings such as this do more to discredit Torah Judaism than any apikores critic could ever do.

    Shulchan Aruch is Torah Judaism. Jewish people were eating berries, greens, and fish and were wearing wigs. Technology has not changed this. Torah Judaism teaches us how to check our green and what the criteria for eating our fruits, vegetables, and fish. If a Rav of today rules in a way that says the Shulchan Aruch is WRONG about these things....what is the "Torah Judaism" way to feel about it?

    It's a Mitzva of the Torah that we neither add not take away. The Rav's additional prohibitions from what has been normal practice [al-pi shulchan aruch] is identical to what the conservative/reform have done in removing prohibitions.

  14. "This is besides the point that he is either ignorant or chooses to ignore that the metzius has changed since R' Moishe Feinstein poskened."

    Really? In what way?


please use either your real name or a pseudonym.