What Actually is ‘Sushi Grade’ Fish?
What is “sushi grade” fish?
Technically, there’s no such thing as sushi grade fish. The term is used as effective marketing jargon to sell raw fish in North America. Japanese chef Yuji Haraguchi recalls using the term in the early 2000s for the seafood distributor True World Foods. The company was trying to expand their market as many Canadians and Americans were hesitant to eat raw fish in sushi. “Sushi grade” is a label to help upsell fish and does not follow an official standardized grading system.
When people are looking for sushi grade fish today, they are looking for fish that can be eaten raw. This means the fish is free from parasites and other germs that may cause foodborne illnesses. There are many misconceptions about what fish can and cannot be eaten raw. A good general rule to follow is, if the fish is frozen, it can be eaten raw.
How do I know if my fish has parasites?
The risk of parasites comes from ocean farmed and wild caught fish. In the ocean, fish can be exposed to many different kinds of parasites. When cooked or frozen, parasites and harmful bacteria are no longer a health concern in fish. The FDA recommends that if you choose to eat fish raw, it should be frozen at -35℃ for 15 hours and until solid and then stored at -20℃ for 24 hours before being consumed. Or you can store the fish at -20℃ or below for 7 consecutive days. This allows enough time to kill parasites that may be present within the fish. Even when fish is consumed without being frozen first, as long as it has been filleted properly, there is a very slim risk of illness.
‘Sushi Grade’ Fish at Afishionado!
Here at Afishionado the majority of our fish is frozen at peak freshness to properly preserve the quality of our product as well as lengthen the shelf life. As for our fresh fish, we always recommend our salmon from Sustainable Blue: a land-based aquaculture farm in Centre Burlington, Nova Scotia. There is zero risks of parasites and other fish borne illnesses in their salmon because they use a system that recirculates 100% of their water. Sustainable Blue raises all of their salmon with no exposure to the outside world. This means they have no need to use growth hormones or antibiotics, which provides the healthiest and safest option for customers.
What are the best kinds of fish to eat raw?
It’s hard to pick the ‘best’ fish to eat raw as it really depends on what you’re making with it. Whether you’re making California rolls or sashimi, the most important part of the dish is the fish! You want a reliable provider of seafood, and you’ve come to the right place by shopping with us! The fish we recommend for your next sushi dish are our yellow fin tuna saku block, albacore tuna loin, scallops, Sustainable Blue salmon (including all of our smoked varieties: Nova Lox, classic hot smoked, peppered hot smoked, candied, and gochugaru double smoked) and sea urchin (also known as Uni – a seasonal product in winter). All of these are available at our retail location in Bedford and right here online!
What should you make?
Raw fish is most commonly consumed in sushi in Canada. If you have never made sushi before, Philadelphia Rolls are great for beginners! You can find our favourite Philadelphia Roll recipe here and on our website under the ‘blog’ tab.