By Diane L. Kelsch, MS, REHS
Sushi” refers to a special kind of cooked sticky rice with sweetened rice wine vinegar, but commonly, the term is used to describe a finger-sized piece of raw fish or shellfish on or with a bed of acidified (vinegar) rice. Although sushi can be made from a wide variety of fish and non fish ingredients, fish products commonly used in sushi include salmon, snapper, tuna, mackerel, yellowtail, roe, sea urchin, eel, clam, conch, scallops, crab, and lobster.
The larval stage of parasites consumed in raw or undercooked fish can present a health hazard in humans. Most of these parasites cause mild to moderate illness such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain, but more serious problems such as central nervous system and organ damage can occur. For that reason, the Food Code requires freezing for parasite destruction in fish that are to be consumed raw or undercooked.
What are the Food Code requirements for parasite destruction?
The Food Code requires fish that are to be consumed, raw, raw-marinated, partially cooked, or marinated partially-cooked be frozen, for parasite destruction.