Pork sashimi can kill you, warns Thailand’s Department of Health

A Japanese restaurant in Bangkok has raw pork on the menu, but Thailand’s Department of Health is begging people not to eat it. After a photo of the restaurant’s menu went viral on social media, eating “pork sashimi” became Thailand’s latest trend. But eating raw pork can actually kill you, warns the department.

Raw pork contains harmful pathogens that are almost guaranteed to cause fever, headache, nausea and vomiting, skin rashes, diarrhea and parasitic infection, according to the Director-General of the Department of Health Dr. Suwannachai Wattanayingcharoenchai.

In serious cases, the bacteria in raw pork can cause temporary or permanent hearing loss, brain infection, pericarditis and severe sepsis which can lead to death, warns the doctor.

A photo of a “pork sashimi” menu at one Japanese restaurant in Bangkok went viral on Thai social media last week. The menu contains various dishes made from raw pork offal, such as raw pig tongue, heart, diaphragm, liver and stomach.

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Suwannachai says pork needs to be cooked at 70 degrees Celsius or higher for over 5 minutes to become safe for human consumption. The doctor also recommends washing your hands before and after handling any kind of raw meat.

In 2015, Japan introduced a law banning restaurants from serving raw pork sashimi, because the dish was causing so many cases of food poisoning, hepatitis E and parasitic infections. In Japan, serving raw or undercooked pork is punishable by up to 2 years in prison and fines equivalent to over 550,000 baht.

No such law exists in Thailand, where larb made from raw pork has been a popular item on the menu for centuries. However, eating raw pork in any form can cause lethal illness, or even death, so the Department of Health advises to steer clear of it at all costs.


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Leah is a translator and news writer for the Thaiger. Leah studied East Asian Religions and Thai Studies at the University of Leeds and Chiang Mai University. Leah covers crime, politics, environment, human rights, entertainment, travel and culture in Thailand and southeast Asia.

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