Do You Know The Life-Threatening Ingredients to Avoid in Sushi?
Between 2010 to 2014 Americans increased their sushi consumption by 28 percent, and it’s estimated that number continues to rise. But with increased demand comes increased risk for buying subpar, low-qulity ingredients—and when it comes to sushi, that’s a risk you don’t want to take.
While sushi is, in fact, loaded with disease-fighting nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids and kelp, low-quality sushi can put your life at risk. In addition to the potential for containing high levels of mercury, some sushi could contain dangerous parasites such as clonorchis sinensis or anisakis.
So how can you enjoy the many omega-3 boosting health benefits of sushi and still steer clear of its potential for low-grade, dangerous ingredients?
5 Ways to Ensure Sushi Safety
1. Avoid polluted regions: Find out where the fish and other raw ingredients are from and avoid regions with high water pollution. The Monterey Bay Aquarium offers an excellent resource for monitoring the best regions from which to purchase raw ingredients for sushi which you can find here: www.montereybayaquarium.org/cr/cr_seafoodwatch/sfw_sushi.aspx. Don’t hesitate to ask your sushi chef or grocer where they sourced their ingredients.
2. Check the temperature: Always check the temperature of sushi purchased from the grocery store. The temperature should be 5°C or less upon purchase. For freshly-prepared sushi, make sure the fish being used was frozen prior to preparation. Freezing raw fish at temperatures of -20°C or below for 7 days or -35°C or below for 15 hours destroys many of the naturally occurring parasites in fish.
3. Eat sushi-grade ONLY for raw-fish sushi: You can avoid low-quality fish by sticking to sashimi-grade tuna or fish whenever consuming raw-fish sushi.
4. Know which fish should be cooked: Sushi using monk fish or crab should always use cooked meat. Other ingredients such as octopus and shrimp are typically lightly poached, while eel is always grilled or steamed.
5. Avoid imitation crab meat at all costs. It’s the scrapple of dirty seafood. (Yes, it’s prepared in a similar fashion. If interested, you can watch this video which explores the process.)
But now on to the fun stuff. Here are a few other fun facts about sushi and why you should indulge—safely—a little more frequently. Enjoy!