Amid coronavirus surge, Egypt’s health ministry says eating ‘Fesikh’ weakens immune system



Mon, 03 May 2021 - 10:02 GMT


Mon, 03 May 2021 - 10:02 GMT

FILE - Fesikh fish - Egypt Today

FILE - Fesikh fish - Egypt Today

CAIRO – 3 May 2021: Almost every year, the Egyptian Health Ministry issues warnings against the fermented fish “Fesikh” Egyptians usually eat on Sham El-Nessim day, scheduled this year on Monday.

Amid a coronavirus surge as the country is suffering from a third coronavirus wave, the ministry warned that Fesikh weakens the immune system and has caused food poisoning to many people.

Fesikh is prepared through drying uncooked mullet under the sun and then submerged in containers filled with extremely salty water for several weeks.

The ministry warns that the high concentration of salt, reaching up to 17% of the total weight of the fish, can be severely harmful especially for those suffering from chronic and kidney diseases, pregnant women and children.

The ministry warns that the Fesikh’s preparation method mainly depends on providing an anaerobic environment in order for fish to be fermented and become ‘fesikh,’ which is a suitable environment for the formation of this bacteria.

The ministry said this kind of bacteria produces poisons that can cause botulism.

On Sham El-Nessim, which is a national holiday, Egyptians used to head out to parks, gardens and zoos with their families to enjoy their traditional meals of salted fish, onions and eggs.

They also enjoy celebrating Easter and Sham El-Nessim in different places whether in Cairo or in other governorates.

However, this year, many governors ordered the closure of public beaches and parks on Sham El-Nessim dure to the coronavirus surge.

So far, Egypt has reported 229,635 coronavirus cases and 13,469 related deaths. While the country has started its vaccination campaign in January, the number of cases keeps on rising.



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