Ottawa Public Health says it has found no health hazard at a Barrhaven Farm Boy after following up on a customer complaint about salmon.
The customer says they found worms moving around in a sockeye salmon filet purchased at the grocery store located at 3033 Woodroffe Avenue.
The complaint was made Sunday and Ottawa’s public health authorities say they investigated the same day with the full cooperation of the on-site manager.
“No health hazard was identified in response to the consumer complaint while on-site at the retail location,” writes the health agency in a statement to CTV News.
Still, the matter has been escalated to The Canadian Food Inspection Agency. CFIA has confirmed it is conducting its own investigation but is unable to provide timelines as to when it will conclude.
In the meantime, the federal agency’s website provides extensive information around fish and seafood.
Colloquially what customers may refer to as "worms," are best known by biologists as nematodes or copedods.
University of Winnipeg biology professor Scott Forbes has been quoted as saying this is a fairly “common” and “natural” occurrence in fish.
The fish often acquire them from small crustaceans they eat. The parasites then hatch within the body of fish.
“They burst out of the copepod, and then they burrow their way through the gut, and make their way into the flesh of the fish,” said Forbes.
Forbes spoke with CTV News in 2016 when a similar story surfaced out of Winnipeg around cod.
At the time, Dana Todd told CTV News she was shocked to find more than she bargained for while preparing dinner for her family.
Food safety experts say the parasites do not kill the fish and suggest they are unlikely to cause problems in people. Considered unpreventable, it is also not believed to be an occurrence due to mishandling or spoilage.
Nonetheless, CFIA has rules and procedures around the number of parasites permitted.
It allows one parasite per kilogram of fish.
Any more and the sample will be rejected.