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What makes a fish sushi grade or sashimi grade?

post #1 of 43
Thread Starter 
What makes a fish sushi grade or sashimi grade?

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post #2 of 43
The imagination of the person trying to sell the fish. There are no such certified grades. :mad:
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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post #3 of 43
hmmmm......paid alot for sashimi grade tuna and then charged alot for sashimi grade tuna. Never knew it was just plain old marketing.:p:lol:
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post #4 of 43
I thought that hte sushi/shahsmi grade was basiclly its cut, fileted and cryovaced as soon as the fish is cut/caught
post #5 of 43
Thread Starter 
I also heard, the knife has to be cleaned after each cut for it to be sushi grade, not sure if thats true or not though.

Sounds like it might just be marketing.
post #6 of 43
post #7 of 43
After reading the aritcle above i thought id coment

The restaurant i used to work at was pretty much just a seafood restaurant. We had a few steaks and one or two chicken dishes, and the rest of the menu was seafood.

Any fish that was grilled or sauteed was "fresh". Our tilapia and trout came in from a food suplier called PFG. Our salmon was farm rasied. Our bass, mahi, tuna, sword, grouper, chanchito, that was all sent in in loins on ice.

We also served an Ahi Tuna sashimi. That fish was sent in dry froven at 45 below, and we had a special freezer for it. There was no moisture, and when u touched it, it didnt feel cold at all, but if you were to drop on of the pieces, it would shatter into a million tiny tuna particles. What we would do, is take the pieces of frozen tuna, sit them in 110 degree water for 2 minutes, caot them in a teriyaki/egg yold mixture, then coat them in a black and white sesame seed blend, then deep fry them at 425 degree oil for 35 seconds and let them sit in the walk in overnight for service the next day. The restuarant was a corporate restaurant.

Just some food for thought.
post #8 of 43
For home, make your own sushi grade fish (like steak tartar).

Buy a thick piece of the freshest fish you can get (Salmon, tuna). Cut it into a nice rectangle.
Prep a strong sanitizing solution in a large glass so that the whole blade of your knife of choice fit in it. (1/4 cup of dishwasher powder per liter of water),

wash your hands. Sanitize a large cutting board. Place your piece at one end.
Cut away 1/4 inch off each perpendicular sides. Dip your blade and wipe clean before each cut. Cut the top off, dip and wipe. Turn your piece on a clean area of the board and cut away the last surface.

Use another sanitized board and your sanitized knife to cut you sushi pieces. Place in a bowl plastic wrap and place on ice. Use your fish ASAP.

Even with all these precautions things can still go wrong... probably that's why Sushi chefs in Japan require many many years of apprenticeship before becoming a master. (I never eat sushi at a joint where the cook barely looks over 18)

Use the cut away piece by making large dices. Pan fry with butter + seasonings and serve on a salad or on simple buttered, cream and garlic pasta.

Luc H.
I eat science everyday, do you?
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I eat science everyday, do you?
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post #9 of 43
The way I undersood it was that sashimi and sushi grade are the same thing and that any fish to be consumed raw must be eaten within 48 hours of being caught... Interesting article.
post #10 of 43
Nice article.

Every food show or documentary I saw about large fish markets in Japan, tuna was always on display frozen. The whole fish is solid as a rock on a wooden skid. That's how it comes off the vessel. Before the auction, the tail is hacked off for buyers to inspect the flesh. These fish weigh several hundred pounds and go for many thousands $.
As soon as it is purchased, the fish it thawed. <fish butchers> cut it up for resale to the sushi restaurants across the country.

(somebody can correct me on this but...) I think all commercial fishing operations flash freeze their catch. Flash freezing does not affect the texture of the flesh that much compared to home freezing. Obviously any fish sold live have never been frozen. Live fish are either from aquaculture or from smaller, non-automated, less commercial fishing operations.

Luc H.
I eat science everyday, do you?
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post #11 of 43
Luc, not all commercial fish has been flash frozen.

Certainly a large proportion of the catch. And anything sold as frozen or previously frozen was FAS.

There are, however, still many fishing ports where fish are landed fresh. That is to say, caught by smaller boats, either with nets or long lines, and iced down until a full load is available.

Because of this, "fresh" fish can be as much as 4 days old before it hits the display case at the fishmonger.

The fact is, though, that for most people, and certainly anyone living more than, oh, say, 100 miles inland, the "freshest" fish, in terms of flavor and texure, actually is FAS. Providing, of course, that it's defrosted correctly.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #12 of 43
there has been a HUGE jump in fish costs.....retail case at STL best fish monger had numerous offerings in the mid twenties....seems like last year the majority of them were in the midteens.

I had halibut for dinner last night.....made it a week ago for a priest luncheon.
YUMMMY
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #13 of 43
ALL food prices are up substantially, mostly because of the price of fuel in the United States :cry:. With fish, it's not only the boats but the air transport. And of course, foods depending on a variety of crops (not fish :crazy:) take a double whammy as they're affected by ethanol policy as well :mad:.

Why have oil prices risen high, with no end in sight? Don't get me started. :rolleyes::mad::eek::cry: In November, you can do something to change it -- a little.

BDL
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post #14 of 43

Yes Luc H things can still go wrong, especially if you are using salmon that has not been properly frozen. It's not about using the freshest fish, but flash frozen fish to kill any parasites. Preferably it should be frozen straight away. Salmon is one of the worst fish to use if you are unsure because it can carry a parasite called liver fluke. 

post #15 of 43

You are 100% correct. I will go further The only fresh fish today is one where you or a friend catch themselves. The rest are anywhere from 4 to 7 days old  before they even reach market.  In many cases like chicken they are FROSTED not frozen which means 2 or 3 degrees above the actual freeze  point  This extends the life of fish  or poultry for many  more days.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #16 of 43

From Servsafe class today. 

 

A supplier must frezze fish that will be served raw or partilly cooked, such as sushi grade fish, for a specific period of time to kill any parasites that might be in the fish.

post #17 of 43

That is correct 72 hour minimum is required. but even at that some parasites still could live . Thats why cooked fish is better first extreme cold then heat almost kills all.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #18 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by BIGPATCOOKING View Post

From Servsafe class today. 

 

A supplier must frezze fish that will be served raw or partilly cooked, such as sushi grade fish, for a specific period of time to kill any parasites that might be in the fish.


+1 based on my understanding.

 

It's a bit counterintuitive that sushi and sashimi grade is frozen first, but it makes sense that if it is frozen cold enough, and long enough (several days, I believe), that will kill any parasites.

 

So, fresh fish might taste better and fresher, but it's not safe for raw consumption.

 

post #19 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by BIGPATCOOKING View Post

From Servsafe class today. 

 

A supplier must frezze fish that will be served raw or partilly cooked, such as sushi grade fish, for a specific period of time to kill any parasites that might be in the fish.


+1 based on my understanding.

 

It's a bit counterintuitive that sushi and sashimi grade is frozen first, but it makes sense that if it is frozen cold enough, and long enough (several days, I believe), that will kill any parasites.

 

So, fresh fish might taste better and fresher, but it's not safe for raw consumption.

 

post #20 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by BIGPATCOOKING View Post

From Servsafe class today. 

 

A supplier must frezze fish that will be served raw or partilly cooked, such as sushi grade fish, for a specific period of time to kill any parasites that might be in the fish.


I never know how these things are supposed to work. Does this mean that if you are running a restaurant, you are flouting the law if you serve raw fish that has never been frozen? No matter what kind of fish, its source, etc.? Or does ServeSafe not have this kind of legal binding?

post #21 of 43

First, let me preface this by saying I'm the owner of SushiNut,  we sell "sushi grade fish", so that you know where the information is coming from.  Secondly, let me answer your question from an authority source, while trying to remain impartial.

 

Yes, "sushi grade", "sashimi grade", "sushi quality", or whatever you want to call it are marketing terms, rather than being determined by the FDA or any regulatory agency.  

 

However, please don't mistake these terms as being completely useless.  In the fish industry, we use "sushi grade fish" or any of the other terms as an indication that something is safe to be eaten raw.  In the case of fresh (never frozen) product, this would be product that has been bled correctly on the boat, stored on ice on the way back the the dock, and expedited to the warehouse for distribution.  We would identify and discard the fish if there are parasites, or "sashi" in Japanese, which are identifiable as pus pockets by experience fishmongers.  These internal requirements are what must be met for our industry to call something "sushi grade".  Please keep in mind that only pelagic fish (like tuna) are generally sold as fresh raw product, as non-pelagic fish tend to carry parasites.

 

On the frozen side, there are actual requirements for raw product.  However, these requirements are determined by certain US counties, rather than the federal government.  Be rest assured that all frozen product used for sushi is held to this standard, despite not being mandated in a specific county.  The county requirements specify that ALL fish used for sushi (excluding pelagic fish like tuna) must meet one of the following requirements to guarantee parasite destruction:

 

(1) Frozen and stored at a temperature of -20C (-4C) or below for a minimum of 168 hours (7 days) in a freezer.

(2) Frozen at -35C (-31F) or below until solid and stored at -35C (-31F) or below for a minimum of 15 hours.

(3) Frozen at -35C (-31F) or below until solid and stored at 20C (-4C) or below for a minimum of 24 hours.

 

In my experience, most wholesale suppliers of sushi restaurants choose the first option to guarantee parasite destruction.

 

I hope this sheds some light on the subject and helps people understand that "Sushi Grade" isn't totally meaningless, as the industry does mostly regulate itself.

 

Regards,

 

Eric Westman

Owner

post #22 of 43

Why was that post removed? I though it was pretty informative, particularly from an insider in the seafood/sushi industry.
 

post #23 of 43

Post was removed by the original poster.
 

Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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Chef,
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post #24 of 43

hmmm.. Interesting. Thanks.
 

post #25 of 43

Well, for those of you who missed out on Sushinut's reply about sushi grade fish, there is a writeup on sushifaq.com that explains the FDA's position on sushi grade fish and their recommendations. The info is at: http://www.sushifaq.com/sushi-sashimi-info/sushi-grade-fish/

 

It seems, basically, that there are no legal requirements and that while the FDA has guidelines, it's kind of a misnomer because there are no actual laws in this area.
 

post #26 of 43

The intent with the labeling is that "sushi grade" can safely be served without cooking to kill parasites and/or hazardous microbes, while fish not so labeled may not be safe to serve raw. This usually implies freezing for a certain length of time to kill the nasties. However, due to a marketing explosion based on the perceived value of the term and lack of laws regarding its use, this may not always hold true.

 

In practical terms: If you want to serve a fish raw or only lightly seared, the parasite destruction guarantee is what you need to have, for safety. If you're going to cook the fish, "ahi" or "sushi" grade fish won't make a difference, except to your wallet - this "grade" doesn't convey quality information, just how it was handled for safety.

post #27 of 43

The FDA or USDA have no such classification. In fact they are now tellin g people only to use frozen seafood for safety sake.   The term clear is sometime used when purchasing fish for sushi.

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post #28 of 43

My local health dept. requires that ALL fish, besides a few certain exempt fish, be frozen under certain guidelines if used for sushi, sashimi, or ceviche. I served a Peruvian ceviche made from Dover Sole on my food truck. The HD required that I have a "parasite destruction form" (guarantee it was frozen properly) kept on file from all my purchases in the last 6 months. If I didn't have a form from the last 6 months, I'd be shut down. 

 

The list of exempt fish are...

Molluscan shellfish (oysters)
Tuna of the species:
Thunnus alalalunga
Thunnus atlanticus
Thunnus albacares (Yellowfin tuna)
Thunnus thynnus maccoyii (Bluefin tuna, Southern)
Thunnus obesus ( Bigeye tuna)
Thunnus thynnus (Bluefin tuna, Northern)
Some aquacultured fish such as salmon that are raised and fed under certain approved conditions.

 

So, if you're ever eating sushi in SLC, you can bet that anything not on this list was frozen.  

post #29 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vic Cardenas View Post

My local health dept. requires that ALL fish, besides a few certain exempt fish, be frozen under certain guidelines if used for sushi, sashimi, or ceviche. I served a Peruvian ceviche made from Dover Sole on my food truck. The HD required that I have a "parasite destruction form" (guarantee it was frozen properly) kept on file from all my purchases in the last 6 months. If I didn't have a form from the last 6 months, I'd be shut down. 

 

The list of exempt fish are...

Molluscan shellfish (oysters)
Tuna of the species:
Thunnus alalalunga
Thunnus atlanticus
Thunnus albacares (Yellowfin tuna)
Thunnus thynnus maccoyii (Bluefin tuna, Southern)
Thunnus obesus ( Bigeye tuna)
Thunnus thynnus (Bluefin tuna, Northern)
Some aquacultured fish such as salmon that are raised and fed under certain approved conditions.

 

So, if you're ever eating sushi in SLC, you can bet that anything not on this list was frozen.  

Pretty much this for most of the world.

 

People seem to confuse a lot of marketing terms... some terms 'actually' mean something ie. they are legaly binding but  most aren't.  Most terms don't have any force of law behind them and are therefore used at will.

 

Ironic thing is many of the most 'desired' are the ones not regulated.

 

fresh / natural / wholesome /  (insert trademark) / free range / humane / hand caught / small batch etc. etc.

----

 


"Plus, this method makes you look like a complete lunatic. If you care about that sort of thing".  - Dave Arnold

 

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"Plus, this method makes you look like a complete lunatic. If you care about that sort of thing".  - Dave Arnold

 

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post #30 of 43

"The imagination of the person trying to sell the fish." 

 

HA HA!!! Thats great!

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