Oct 15, 2010

raw deal

I finally took the time today to actually search for regulated documents to answer a question that's been on my mind - "Can fresh fish (unfrozen) be served raw?"

The answer with some general exceptions is NO.  It must be frozen.

This may be different in countries other than the U.S.  But here, it's true.  All fish eaten in raw form (sushi, sashimi, tartar, etc.) MUST be frozen before it can be consumed. The U.S. FDA requires that fish be frozen according to regulations "3-402.11 Parasite Destruction." The only exception is with fish species where parasites are not a natural hazard.  Freezing requirements are:
  1. -20 degrees Celsius for 7 days
  2. -35 degrees Celcius for 15 hours
The fish that are exempt and can be served both raw and fresh are shellfish, most species of tuna, aqua-cultured fish, and fish eggs.  The full list:
  • Molluscan Shellfish
  • Thunnus Alalunga (Albacore tuna)
  • Thunnus Albacares (Yellowfin tuna)
  • Thunnus Atlanticus (Blackfin tuna)
  • Thunnus Maccoyii (Southern bluefin tuna)
  • Thunnus Obesus (Bigeye tuna)
  • Thunnus Thynnus (Northern bluefin tuna)
  • Aqua-cultured fish (like salmon) must be raised in net pens if raised in open water or fed formulated feed such as pellets that contain no live parasites infective to the fish culture if raised in ponds or tanks.
  • Fish eggs that have been removed from the skein and rinsed
The tunas that need to be frozen are Thunnus Orientalis (Pacific bluefin tuna), Thunnus Tonggol (Longtail tuna), and Thunnus Karasicus (Karasick tuna).

Now go out and impress your friends at your next sushi outing.

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