For Your Health
Be Safe with Sushi
Tips to minimize the associated risk
-Julie Ryan Evans
Do you love sushi? While it’s a pretty healthy dish for the most part, it’s not without health risks – especially from mercury, parasites and bacteria. But if you follow a few simple rules from the November issue of ShopSmart (from the publisher of Consumer Reports), you can enjoy your sushi without worry.
1. DO Pick the Right Rolls: Studies show that eating lots of high-mercury fish can affect neurological, cardiovascular and immune systems, and that’s especially true for women and children, so avoid mercury-heavy fish like tuna, mackerel, shark, swordfish and tilefish. Instead, order seafood that tends to be low in mercury, such as crab, salmon and shrimp.
2. DON’T Make It Yourself: The Food and Drug Administration requires sushi restaurants to freeze fish at -4?F or colder for varying lengths of time (depending on the fish), which can eliminate the risk of parasites like tapeworms and nematodes. So ask if your favorite sushi restaurant freezes its fish, and leave sushi-making to the pros.
3. DO Look at the Fish: Fish should be served cold and look bright, glossy and translucent. Go to restaurants with clean counters, floors and tables.
4. DON’T Eat Leftovers: If you buy take-home sushi, eat it right away. Bacteria that usually live in small numbers in raw fish can multiply and lead to food poisoning if sushi isn’t kept cold enough. Unsanitary handling can introduce more bacteria, so wash your hands before and after handling the fish.