Eating raw fish that is not marked sushi grade

@naf, from what I understand it’s fine from a health perspective to refreeze, but the texture of the fish changes, so can be a bit mushier…

That’s the one! I vaguely remember her talking about her students so I thought she had at least been an instructor at one time but that was years ago so I could be remembering incorrectly.

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I’m starting to think Sushi grade should mean it has been frozen at -4 Fahrenheit for 7 days.

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I’ve been hesitant to eat sushi/sashimi for quite some time. :disappointed:

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I decided to do the tuna as ceviche tomorrow. Will let you guys know how it went. If you don’t hear back from me… :slight_smile:


You guys just made me buy this from Giovanni’s in Moro Bay, CA. If @Sasha Sasha comes back,


I’m scarfing it all on mother’s day.


Made you :slight_smile:Looks lovely. I need to check out our local fishfolk.

It’s not exactly local, but it’s the closest place that ships.

We have legit local places. It’s just that with 1 kid who is a no seafood, no way kind of guy, seafood rarely if ever makes it onto our menu. It’s frustrating, but true. We have a great poke place near us, and when we feel it, 3 of us get that and get him a burger from next door. We keep joking that once he goes to college we will all be able to eat what we like again!


Understood. That’s why it’s an-all-for-me, mother’s day treat. The local places around here that manage to stay in buisness only seem to have big old fried rolls, the same old tunas and salmon, and not a lot of low-carb friendly sashimi. Of course the sashimi costs more, so I’d love to be able to eat my fill at home.

Well, I applaud you. You deserve to treat yourself! The kiddo is off in August (should have been last Aug but covid) and then we are off to the races with seafood, cooked tomatoes, squash, eggplant, all the goodies. But if I was really treating myself, I’d go find some king crab legs. My achilles heel.


Oh, I almost hate to post here, I really shouldn’t.

When I look at the risks I take, I attempt to listen to the experts in the field, because not everything can be learned from first-person experience, but I also put my first-person experience in play to check the context.

I eat raw fish.

I have had bad food poisoning a few times in my life. Like, 3, and I (as many of you must) eat in plenty of unusual circumstances, like street vendors with mystery skewers in Xi’an or random street tacos in mexico or any of a number of things.

I have gotten sick off fish precisely once. It was in, of all places, Berkeley CA and was a bad shrimp, and it smelled bad. I will not eat something again that smells like that. I vomited a lot and was ok 24 hours later.

All of the other food poisoning I’ve gotten has been in restaurants catering to the tourist trade where I couldn’t see the kitchen. I steer away from that kind of place, and will take a vibrant well trafficed street stall any day of the week. I will ask my meat a little better cooked in a tourist kind of place.

I don’t take all the considered opinions regarding food safety at home. I don’t wash wash wash all chicken-touching surfaces, because the science I’ve read has a gap - is there any pathogen, vs is there enough pathogen to sicken. We swim in a sea of pathogens, eradicating all of them is not possible and probably not even healthy. I have never gotten sick with my own cooking, and I hold what I consider a sensible middle ground - I wash things more often than not, I clean up with soap and water, my fridge is modern and works well.

Plenty of food is fermented. I love fermented food. I have some lemons preserving away right now. I occasionally make my own cheese, sometimes with raw milk (there are standards, I’ve read them an abide by them). Meat is best if brought up to room temp before cooking - time when it can sit with some salt (a preservative and anti-bacterial) and the best is often aged. Thomas Keller’s key trick for good roast chicken is air-drying the skin in the fridge (2 days unwrapped), and also bringing the chicken to room temp before cooking - it means less time in the oven and less chance of drying. Of course you still bring the internal temp up to standard, that’s the important part. None of this is particularly dangerous - TK must have served a lot of chickens in his professional life, and I think we’d know if he has a reputation for sickening people.

Sometimes, I wonder if Clean All The Things logic takes hold because a person is brought up doing a certain thing and no one gets sick, so they believe it’s the necessary level of caution, when, in fact, the necessary level might be far lower. One has to do a bit of research and understand the science, no way around it, but if the science says “it’s safe” I am OK.

I am probably writing because this is fresh for me - I happen to be walking past an asian market that had some good looking chunks of Ahi last week, and the price was great - $7.00 per lb for well trimmed chunks. It sat in my fridge for about 6 days, then I happened to invite friends over and seared it. When one has 2 lbs of good looking tuna sitting in the fridge one has a party waiting to happen, and if they said no I was going to sear half and freeze half that night anyway. I missed the sear point a little (I should have cut it thicker and cooked it over hotter mesquite instead of propane) b/c it was the first time grilling ahi (that’s my excuse), but of course no one was sickened. I’m not even sure I rinsed the tuna (there’s a logic that there’s more bacteria in a home sink than a commercial fishmonger, and you’re doing yourself no favors by cleaning). In any case the sear takes care of the outside, but please tell me the incidence of tuna-borne worms in the general population, if you’d like to convince me not to eat raw fish. The fact that there is no minimum temp for fish in gvt standards tells me it’s super low.

At a rather famous festival in the desert, there used to be ‘sushi camp’, where a bunch of people would pitch in, rent a refrigerated truck, and acquire and give away industrial quantities of tuna. Since they were in the desert, amenities like running fresh water are a bit scarce, but they took sensible precautions and a good time (and no sickness) was had by all. When the festival got bigger, they had to abide by proper restaurant food handling standards, and thus had to disband. While I am all about good standards, I miss Sushi Camp.

I do know friends, and family, who have died of surgery and dentistry regarded as routine - with a 1% chance of death, for example. Yet, I go to the dentist. I also ride a motorcycle, and that’s a risk 1000x worse than driving a car. Do you take acetaminophen? Last time I looked, about 450 people per year die of overdoses - the normal suggested dose is 4g per day, which is the same as the beginning of the lethal dose range. The sick you get is liver failure and you flat out die in 2 weeks - you need a liver transplant. I know one person who died of covid and several who were in a hospital for a month fighting for their lives, I take that seriously, the mortality rate is outrageous.

According to wikipedia, referencing the CDC, over the 10 years from 1990 to 2000, in america, there were 263 foodborne botulism cases, 4% of which were fatal. That’s slightly less than 1 a year. While botulism (be wary of home canning, and thankful of the industrial acidity standards we have in place, and I do have a $500 industrial PH meter for when I do home preserving) isn’t the only risk, it shows how well our food safety systems are working.

I also read about people who die of vegetables. We all eat raw veg, and sometimes it kills (lysteria), although almost always young folk without fully prepared immune systems, I understand. I will keep eating raw.

That includes fish, thanks.


I do appreciate your step back and look at the big picture approach. The reason I asked the question in the first place is because there is such a thing in the US as fish marked sushi grade. So there is a presumption at least that if it isn’t, then you shouldn’t. Frankly, it would be easier to make the decision if there wasn’t any such marking. Because then, yes, the more important factors would be look, smell, trust of the vendor, and storage/preparation practices.


Yes, I was a bit off topic compared to your original post. It was, at best, a long winded way of saying “yeah, sushi grade, whatever” :slight_smile: and it was interesting reading the links about that marketing. This was not a post about you, Sasha, even though it had some personal writing. More a rant against Clean All The Things which you weren’t espousing.

What I see is people, even in this thread, requiring a very high standard for trust of vendor, storage/prep, etc. I got my tuna from Random Place On MIssion Street Where They Didn’t Speak English and my only special prep was not to leave it on the counter overnight. I did have it in my car unrefrig for an hour as I drove home. This is about par for the course for me.

Mine is an alternate viewpoint, I’ll be going back to my cave and pound on some rocks now :slight_smile:

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My level of care is probably a big higher, but I also strongly did not enjoy my sole bout with ecoli growing up (Filet o Fish from McDs). I also have a peanut allergic kid so my level of care is always high.

can you provide a industry or regulatory reference that defines “sushi grade”?

My point was that while I usually avoid cooking frozen fish, commercially frozen fish seems like the best choice for eating raw. Nothing to do with " grade" ( although I don’t like halibut with a lot of tendon, and I prefer the fatty bellies of tuna) e coli or other bacteria; more about the admittedly rare parasites.

I ordered mine with dry ice to keep it frozen, and I can pull out a piece now and then to satisfy a late night raw fish craving.

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For me anyway, “sushi grade” means whatever my favorite and trusted itamae finds suitable to serve to me that particular day.


You may find this instructive:

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Isn’t that the same as the link upthread? I find it pretty helpful.