The Only Regulation Enforced On Fish Labeled As Sushi-Grade

For seafood lovers, it's hard to beat the allure of a sushi night. What can top varying types of fresh fish, sliced and consumed straight or rolled into delectable bites? And while it may seem like an experience best reserved for dining out, with some careful sourcing, it's doable at home. Such a move incites a critical question — what store-bought fish is safe for raw consumption?

Those filleted blocks of fish labeled as sushi-grade aren't a bad call. Just keep in mind their title isn't regulated by a central governing body. The enforcement of a sushi-grade label is all up to the fishmonger, so it's extra important to shop at a respected location. Typically, the term references fish that was flash frozen once caught and stored at exceedingly frigid temperatures for around a week. Best limited to marine fish, most often salmon and tuna, this process will curb the danger of parasites.

Sushi grade is not a regulated term, only enforced by fishmongers

There's more that goes into a sushi-style fish than the freeze. Exemplars are often wild-caught and immediately filleted. Some of the water content is removed, and the blocks are then deep frozen, often at a frigid -30 degrees Fahrenheit. Such expert-driven processing ensures not only the safest composition, but the optimal flavor, too.

Nevertheless, the exact fish-handling methodology varies, so it's valuable to put in some extra initiative before a purchase. Ideally, head to a seafood-specific store with lots of product turnaround. Chat with the fishmonger regarding sourcing and inquire if the specific cut is fit for sushi. Then, verify that the flesh has a rigid texture and a palatable aroma. And perhaps most importantly, confirm there's no cross-contamination. Never purchase sushi-designated fish from a counter shared with other seafood varieties. Handle the fish with care at home by slicing it on a clean cutting board and eating it soon afterward. While there's always an associated risk with consumption, such precautions will allow a do-it-yourself sushi night in peace.