What Makes Fish Sushi Grade?

What Makes Fish Sushi Grade

We often see the term “sushi-grade” in some supermarkets and groceries, but what makes fish get that sushi-grade? What are the essential processes and guidelines that these raw trawls need to pass to receive that kind of category? Today, let us give you that answer to this particular question.

“Sushi-Grade” is an unofficial term given to fish that indicates it is safe for consumption. Sellers put this category in their raw items to let their consumers know the necessary procedures have been made to make it safe to raw consumption. These raw fishes were caught quickly, bled upon capture, gutted right away, and iced thoroughly. Moreover, the manufacturers made sure to freeze the fish at 0°F for seven days or flash-frozen at -35°F for 15 hours. This way, they can eliminate and kill parasites, which makes the raw fish safe for consumption. Hence, they put the term “sushi-grade” on its packaging.

However, the reality is that not all raw fish catchers are honest with FDA’s standards or other unique state rules about raw fish consumption. You should know that accidental eating of parasites may lead to severe conditions that may put your health at risk. So, let us give you a better understanding of sushi-grade fish.

What Is Sushi-Grade Fish?

Stores have been labeling “sushi-grade fish,” but you should know that there are no official standards for using it. Manufacturers and sellers only use this category to let their buyers know that they have already done procedures to kill any parasites that may be living in it. This way, the raw fish becomes safe before consumption. The best practice for this is flash freezing, which retains freshness and texture on the boat immediately after catching the fish.

The mark “sushi-grade” suggests that the store sells the highest quality fish, and ensures its buyer that eating raw fish is safe. Tuna, for example, is inspected by the wholesalers and then graded. Inspectors or checkers usually give Grade 1 to the better ones, and usually what they market as sushi grade.

How to Buy Sushi-Grade Fish?

With the gaining popularity of sushi, almost everyone would love to try this dish. However, you must know how to buy and pick those “sushi-grade” fish. So, here are some things that you should be checking before you add the raw fish to your cart and pay for it.

Buy To The Right Place Or Seller

Go to a trustworthy fishmonger or stores that sell raw fish. Look for one that sells quickly via fish, gets daily shipments, and has knowledgeable employees.

Always Choose Sustainable

Being a responsible consumer helps to make sustainable choices by contributing to healthy oceans. You can know these pieces of information by asking the right questions. Don’t worry about asking the staff where the fish came from, how they handled it, and how long they’ve been there. For example, you can ask how often they sanitize their equipment? This way, you can avoid cross-contamination from non-sushi grade fish if you know that you are buying from the right market.

Fresh or Frozen?

Eating raw fish that was frozen may sound odd, but most sushi restaurants serve heavily iced fish. However, the good news is that fish that has been frozen will still taste amazing, given it is of good quality. When making your sushi, using frozen fish is much more cost-effective. 

Try to look for individually fast-frozen (IQF) products for best results, and unwrap the fish before putting it to thaw in the refrigerator. Always use your nose before picking when you choose the best quality fresh fish. Don’t buy it if the fish smells terrible. Fish ought to have a light and natural fishy scent. You should not be unpleasant at all. 

When it comes to eating raw fish, it should be both frozen and fresh. Buy fresh fish that is frozen to make sure that all parasites have been eliminated. Don’t stock a day in advance, and make sure to consume it within two days after buying it. Finally, avoid eating the fish if it has cloudy eyes or feels mushy to touch.

Use Your Senses

The fish should look and smell like the ocean, and the flesh should not be fluffy or flaky. Since it is being served raw, for the most eye appeal, aim for vivid paint. If you have any questions about the consistency of the fish, get a pass.


The fish should look and smell like the ocean, and the flesh should not be fluffy or flaky. Since it is being served raw, for the most eye appeal, aim for a vivid hue. If you have any concerns about the consistency of the fish, don’t bother buying it.

How To Make Sure That You Buy The Best Sushi-Grade Fish?

What Makes Fish Sushi Grade

First of all, you have to assess the fish market. It is all about searching for the best and reliable store that will give you high-quality raw fish. If you are unsure whether you have stumbled into a fish market’s goods and claims to trust, you don’t need to talk to the fishmonger. Just walk away and look for a new one. You can ask for your friends or family members’ suggestions. You can search the internet, but don’t trust easily. It is better to verify it with your eyes.

Gauging freshness with a whole fish is easier than fillets. Just make sure to always look for bright red gills, bulbous and clear eyes, strong and unblemished flesh. Buy the freshest sea fish, but avoid any that are in the cod family. Better yet, ask if the fish market has a super freezer and if they can freeze the fish for you if you want to remove the parasite threat at the buying point thoroughly; if they won’t, you’re better off sticking to tuna and farmed salmon.

After buying, always keep your fish cold. Then, scale and gut the fish yourself. It’s best to scale and gut the fish yourself if you buy your fish whole, and you doubt the sanitary conditions of the market. Therefore, a good fish scaler, a pair of fish tweezers, and a boning knife are all needed. To ensure that the procedure is as sanitary as possible, you can also ask the fish market to do this for you, but do the filleting at home. Make sure to thoroughly wash out the blood and guts with running water if you gut the fish yourself.

What To Do Next After Buying The Raw Fish?

After buying your raw fish, you can now eat at home. However, make sure that your storage, and cooking area are clean and sanitized. The work area and equipment that you will use in cutting should be clean and sanitized. Moreover, it would help if you also disinfected the chopping board using a bleach solution on both sides.

Using clean kitchen towels or paper towels, dry both the fish and the cutting board very thoroughly and, of course. Make sure your hands are clean before you begin skinning and cutting. Then, move the fish to a clean container or plate, and clean your cutting board again or turn it over to the clean side before you continue with cutting the fillets. This way, you can reduce the risk of pathogens becoming introduced and to avoid flavoring the fish.

Keep an eye out for parasites as you slice the fish for the final preparation. Freezing destroys parasites and stops them from hurting you, but it does not eliminate them, and even though you are using farmed fish, do this even though the fish has been frozen according to FDA guidelines. 

Anisakid larvae range from brown to white, have a length of about a centimeter, and look very much like watch springs. A cyst, which looks like a tiny rice grain embedded in the flesh, will contain massive fish tapeworm larvae. To extract them, either use your fingertips or, if you’re squirmy, use fish tweezers. 

Frequently Asked Questions

‘Sushi-Grade’ is an unofficial term given to fish, which means that it is healthy to consume. However, the truth is that not all raw fish catchers are honest with the FDA’s requirements or other specific state regulations on the consumption of raw fish. Without proper treatment, accidental eating of parasites from raw fish may lead to severe health conditions.

Is grocery store fish safe for sushi?

Eating grocery store fish is the easiest option for any fried sushi rolls, but make sure to purchase sushi-grade fish. Usually, you can buy it from high-end or specialty grocery stores.

Can you eat raw salmon from the grocery store?

You can eat raw salmon from the grocery store if you find its label saying it is suitable for consumption. If it says it has been frozen, then raw consumption is also healthy. In various types of Japanese foods, salmon is such a common fish to eat.

What fish is safe for sushi?

You can add much fish to sushi, but tuna is one of the only species of fish that is safe for eating raw. You can also try Salmon, Yellowtail, Mackerel, Seabass, and other farmed fish. However, make sure that you kill parasites first before consuming it.


As you can see, the sushi’s consistency in restaurants or as ‘ready-to-eat’ meals is compromised by several problems. Though, with no federal legislation, it’s all about standards of conduct and limitations on the health code. You may expect that the FDA criteria for parasitic destruction have complied when you eat sushi from a quality establishment, but when you plan to make your sushi, ensure that you buy the best sushi-grade raw fish. If you find yourself making mistakes, here’s why sushi falls apart and how to fix it.

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