What Does "Sushi Grade" Mean? - Cenza

What Does "Sushi Grade" Mean?

Did you know that sushi is a $22 billion dollar industry with more than 4,000 sushi bars scattered around the country?

It's no secret that sushi is a money maker, but how can you serve it at your restaurant? Because sushi is made of raw seafood, there are some risks attached to it.

Keep reading to learn what sushi grade means.

What Is Sushi Grade?

Sushi grade is an unregulated phrase to identify fish that is safe to eat raw. Fish vendors might use the term "sushi grade" to indicate the freshest supply.

Sushi grade indicates freshness, quality, and fish that is treated with extra care to prevent foodborne illnesses. The process typically involves freezing the fish before selling it.

A sushi grade label is not regulated so don't put all of your faith in sushi grade fish.

Raw Fish and FDA Regulation

There aren't guidelines in place that determine whether or not fish is sushi grade. However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has regulations regarding handling procedures for fish made for raw consumption.

The FDA regulates temperatures required for certain fish species. These general guidelines, referred to as the "Parasite Destruction Guarantee", need to be followed after a species gets caught.

Low temperatures kill parasites that might live in the fish when they get caught. The process of killing the parasites with freezing temperatures needs to happen as soon as the fish gets on the boat.

Sushi grade fish needs to get caught fast, gutted upon capture, and placed in a flash freezer within eight hours of getting out of the water.

Because there are a lot of steps required to keep a fish safe for raw consumption, there is always a risk of serving raw seafood.

What Are the Best Fish for Sushi?

Food distributors should be aware of the fish that is best for sushi. There are certain fish species more susceptible to parasites.

These are the most common types of fish used for raw sushi:

  • Tuna
  • Salmon
  • Yellowtail
  • Seabass
  • Mackarel
  • Halibut

In addition to these species, fish raised in aquaculture are less likely to contract parasites because they grow in safer environments.

In contrast, freshwater fish species should never be consumed raw because they are prone to parasites. Freshwater seafood needs to be thoroughly cooked to kill parasites before serving.

If you are purchasing salmon for raw consumption, go with farmed salmon. Wild caught salmon spend part of their lives in freshwater which makes them more likely to contract parasites.

Safely Consuming Raw Fish

Sushi grade fish can be consumed raw. However, since there is no regulation for the term, there is always a risk of eating raw fish.

If you want to purchase and sell sushi grade fish, you'll need to handle the process properly. Sushi grade fish needs to stay cold and transported in freezing environments to kill possible parasites.

Curious to know more about food safety? Contact us today to receive consultations for food.

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