The Real Reason It's Perfectly Okay To Buy Frozen Tuna

Tuna is a crowd favorite: canned tuna is found in so many households, spicy tuna is a hit item at every sushi joint, and ahi tuna steak is a delicacy served at high-end restaurants. According to the Washington Post, Americans hardly consumed fish at all before canned tuna came along in the early 1900s. Thanks to the advent of preserving technology, fishermen were able to rid the fish of its fishy flavor, coining it the "chicken of the sea" (via Washington Post). Since then, Americans have moved beyond eating it in its canned form, seeking it out in raw sushi or grilling it in a tuna steak.

This wide acceptance of tuna inevitably brought forth a difficult question in the culinary world: is fresh tuna way better than frozen? Seafood markets boast of their freshly-caught fish, which is often times a selling point for all types of fish. On the other hand, frozen fish brings to mind an unpleasant image: a mushy tuna on the brink of spoiling that is thrown into the back of a freezer. However, this could not be further from the truth.

Frozen tuna is safer

You may be under the impression that sushi-grade tuna is perhaps the freshest tuna on the market. However, sushi-grade fish is generally labeled as such thanks to the freezing methods used to kill all bacteria and parasites outlined in the FDA's Food Code. In terms of consuming raw fish, the FDA suggests that it is safest to eat fish that has previously been frozen. In fact, fish you buy frozen is immediately frozen after it's caught, preserving the nutrients, flavor, and texture of the fish, per Livestrong.

Fresh-fish purists may insist on cooking the fish until it reaches an internal temperature of 145 F to kill all parasites (via FDA). However, every delicious ahi tuna steak is left undercooked in its center, revealing translucent, ruby-red flesh. To ensure that your at-home sushi or tuna steak is free of parasites, you should pick frozen tuna or tuna marked as sushi-grade from an established market. It's just as delicious as fresh tuna and it's equally nutritious.