Recently the topic of great local sushi restaurants came up, and someone used the phrase “sushi grade fish”… which lead someone else to ask, “What exactly does that mean? Sushi grade fish?”. None of us could come up with a good answer.
As it turns out, there really isn’t a good answer. The FDA has no clear standards as to what makes fish 'sushi grade' or 'sashimi grade' and no definition of the term. Sounds crazy, huh?
The primary concern of inspectors is ‘freezing and storing seafood at -4°F (-20°C) or below for 7 days (total time), or freezing at -31°F (-35°C) or below until solid and storing at -31°F (-35°C) or below for 15 hours, or freezing at -31°F (-35°C) or below until solid and storing at -4°F (-20°C) or below for 24 hours’ which is sufficient to kill parasites.
I’ve always thought “sushi-grade” meant super-fresh (and in my mind, that means never frozen). I had no idea that it’s just a marketing term. Interesting.