Like Sushi? Love Diarrhoea!

If you thought the Black Beauty In Your Lasagne scandal was bad there’s worse to come. The next one might well be escolar – the fish responsible for a sashimi-associated diarrhoea epidemic in the USA. This has been grumbling on for a while and shows no sign of abating – I saw escolar on a restaurant menu yesterday so it’s only a matter of time…

Escolar is a sort of mutant mackerel that’s cheap, sustainable and supposedly ‘healthier’ as it doesn’t contain methyl mercury (don’t get me started…) If that is so, why have Japan, South Korea and Italy banned its importation and sale and why do Canada, Sweden and Denmark demand it carries warning labels? Last year in the US there was a huge hoo-hah when DNA testing found 60% of restaurants were selling escolar as tuna – and in sushi restaurants the proportion was much higher. Itadakemasu!

Yes, escolar (aka butterfish, walu walu, oilfish, super white tuna, king tuna) is delicious and has a wonderful, buttery texture. But that butteriliciouosness comes from its inability to metabolise certain fatty esters in its diet – so they build up in its tissues. Toxicologists call this gempylotoxin and it’s chemically similar to… castor oil!

So the ninja-escolar in your sashimi is likely laden with something very similar to castor oil – and causes rapid intoxication and ‘anal leakage‘ as the Americans describe it. Or more accurately explosive, orange, oily diarrhoea (technically keriorrhea) that attacks by stealth. You think you’re going to break wind and hey presto an explosion of foul orange oil is gushing down your leg.

Provided you eat less than 4oz or so you should be fine – but I’ve never seen a 4oz portion of anything in the USA unless it was on top of something else…

So, millions of Americans may never fart with confidence again. DNA testing. The gift that keeps on giving.

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4 thoughts on “Like Sushi? Love Diarrhoea!

  1. Wow. Learn something new every day. Now I what what that was in the mid-80’s when that happened once to me. I guess my sushi days or over. Bummer.

      • Just checked – v good info sheet here; not banned but under strict control. I’d avoid Québec, tho – truffle-chomping wine sucking anarchists the lot of them. Escolar Poutine. There’s a thought. Also non-US size portions shouldn’t have you shitting yourself. So that’s another excuse I can’t use next time. Bugger.

        • Thanks, Rectofossa, and sorry for the grammatical error in my first post. It wasn’t in Canada that this happened to me. It happened in France around 1987. I’ll have a look at your link.

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