Is sushi safe to eat?

In this brief article, we will answer the question, “Is sushi safe to eat?” and provide information on concerns related to eating sushi, some food practices that can be followed after preparing sushi as well as what needs to be kept in mind before visiting a sushi restaurant.

Is sushi safe to eat?

Yes, sushi is safe to eat. But it is problematic, especially for individuals with a compromised immune system. 

Sushi is not recommended to be consumed by pregnant/lactating women, young children, elderly people, or individuals suffering from chronic diseases.

This is because consuming sushi prepared from raw fish can increase the risk of developing foodborne illnesses.

What are some concerns related to eating sushi?

Sushi is prepared from raw fish. Raw fish contains parasites, viruses, or bacteria. As a result, individuals with a weakened immune system are advised against eating sushi. 

Excess consumption of sushi can result in mercury poisoning as bigger fish like tuna can contain mercury. Mercury levels vary from fish to fish. 

Moderate consumption of salmon, shrimp, and cod might not cause any issues. Sushi prepared from tuna should be consumed only once or twice a week.

Anisakis is the most common parasite found in raw fish. Cooking or freezing fish can help remove these parasites.

Sushi prepared using freshwater fish can contain tapeworms. Although the majority of fish used for preparing sushi is taken from saltwater, unagi sushi is prepared using freshwater eel. Sushi prepared from freshwater fish needs to be cooked thoroughly.

Certain smoked or cured fish can contain Listeria. Listeriosis does not show any symptoms initially but slowly you might start experiencing fever, chills, aches, and diarrhea. Severe listeria infection can increase the risk of developing bacterial meningitis. 

Another concern with eating sushi that is often overlooked can be the sodium levels present in them. Excess sodium levels can increase the risk of heart failure or heart attacks.

What are some food practices that can be followed after preparing sushi?

  • Make sure to refrigerate rice at a temperature below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. This is because Bacillus Cereus can grow in rice if it is kept outside for a long time.
  • Fish used for preparing sushi should be kept in a freezer at a temperature of -35 degrees celsius for a day. If you want to keep sushi in the freezer for a week, keep them at a temperature of -20 degrees celsius.
  • Safe food practices have to be followed both at home while preparing food or at the restaurant, if you are working as a chef.
  • Certain tuna species do not necessarily need to be kept in the fridge for sushi preparation. This includes bluefin tuna, albacore tuna, blackfin tuna, and bigeye tuna.
  • Wash hands before and after preparing sushi. Do not prepare sushi if you are sick.
  • Make sure to separate raw foods from cooked or ready-to-eat ones. This can help prevent cross-contamination.
  • Make sure to sanitize utensils and other equipment for preparing sushi.
  • Defrost foods in the refrigerator before using them.
  • Mat used for rolling sushi should be waterproof and absorbent. If not, it can be lined with food-grade plastic wrap. 
  • Do not keep sushi rolls at room temperature for more than 2 hours. Foods kept for longer than 2 hours need to be discarded.
  • If you are preparing sushi by yourself, ensure that you scale and gut fish yourself. This way you can ensure that you follow safe and hygienic practices at home while cleaning fish.
  • Make sure that your work area is clean and sanitized. You can use bleach or sanitizer. Ensure that all your workplace and equipment are dry before you proceed to prepare sushi.

What to keep in mind before visiting a sushi restaurant?

  • If you are concerned about eating raw fish, eat a mixture of vegetables and meat sushi. There can be vegetarian sushi options available too.
  • Check the food hygiene rating of restaurants before you plan to venture into the restaurant. Go for restaurants that have a food hygiene rating of 5. You can check for a restaurant’s name on the Food Standards Agency website.

Conclusion

In this brief article, we have answered the question, “Is sushi safe to eat?” and provided information on concerns related to eating sushi, some food practices that can be followed after preparing sushi as well as what needs to be kept in mind before visiting a sushi restaurant.

Reference

https://www.wechu.org/food-safety/sushi-safety-home-or-restaurant

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