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Frozen Sushi?

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Danielley Jul 12, 2009 10:07 AM

I am pregnant. Apparently I can't eat raw fish unless it has been frozen first. Does anyone know what the current food/health regulations are in Ontario regarding sushi? Is it true that anywhere I go in Toronto for sushi the fish will have been frozen first?

  1. Charles Yu Jul 12, 2009 10:10 AM

    Play safe, stick with tuna!

    4 Replies
    1. re: Charles Yu
      grandgourmand Jul 12, 2009 01:13 PM

      Being a larger, predatorial fish, tuna is known to contain higher concentration of mercury than other fish. Therefore, it's on most of the lists of what not to eat while pregnant.

      However, I believe moderation is key. So, if you want to splurge and have some sushi, do it, but maybe not as much as you used to. And go to a place known for high quality fish, no food court stuff.

      1. re: grandgourmand
        Charles Yu Jul 12, 2009 02:22 PM

        You're right! My attention was focused on the 'frozen part' of the equation hence the tuna answer. I believe nowadays all tuna, especially bluefin are flash frozen on board the fishing vessel before landed in places like Tsukiji ?! No?!

        1. re: Charles Yu
          aser Jul 12, 2009 02:26 PM

          The majority are flash frozen, but there're still some that are unfrozen. Each morning there are two tuna auctions @ Tsukiji, one for frozen, one for unfrozen.

          It all depends on when they catch the fish, since they're out at sea for at least 4-5 days to maximize catch. So the ones caught at the beginning of the trip will be frozen while the stuff near the end (if it's of exceptional quality), will be kept unfrozen.

          1. re: Charles Yu
            grandgourmand Jul 12, 2009 03:30 PM

            Despite the mercury, I think tuna could be a safer choice than some other fish. Butter fish comes to mind, and some farmed salmon.

      2. aser Jul 12, 2009 10:13 AM

        Yes majority of the fish (especially freshwater) will have been previously frozen.

        I do commend you for thinking about eating sushi while pregnant. The fear mongering doctors engage in by telling people to abstain from all sorts of food while pregnant is ridiculous. I don't see anything wrong w/ moderate consumption of something like sushi. A whole nation of women in Japan haven't had any problems either, why the big fuss over here?

        5 Replies
        1. re: aser
          a
          AHan Jul 12, 2009 11:06 AM

          Actually not all Japanese eat sushi, and most doctors in Japan offer the same guidance as we do, according to my Japanese friends.

          1. re: AHan
            aser Jul 12, 2009 12:37 PM

            I don't see where I implied all Japanese people eat sushi.

            Here is an official Japanese gov'nt advisory....

            http://www.mhlw.go.jp/english/wp/other/councils/mercury/

            It basically says to avoid high mercury fish, which seems to be in line for regular people too.

            Here's a similar topic with people experiencing pregnancies in Japan.....

            http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=103604

            http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/15/opi...

          2. re: aser
            jayt90 Jul 12, 2009 01:51 PM

            The whole nation includes Minamata, with horrible birthing and disfiguration problems while the bay was polluted from 1932 to 1968, and then some. Fish and shellfish were the unknowing culprits
            Here is a brief summary: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minamata...

            1. re: jayt90
              aser Jul 12, 2009 01:54 PM

              I am aware of the Minamata situation, but what does that have anything to do w/ a pregnant woman inquiring about sushi consumption today?

              She shouldn't eat sushi because of a grave mistake/crime from 40 years ago? The Japanese system is forever flawed as a result of this?

              1. re: aser
                jayt90 Jul 12, 2009 02:09 PM

                That is a good question, with an unknown answer. Each pregnant woman will have to make her own choice.

                To answer the OP's Q. about freezing, it was proposed when Geo. Smitherman was minister of health; all fish sold raw would have to be previously frozen. He was attacked in the press by Gremolata, Hiro, and others, and quickly retreated.
                So sushi can be sold as fresh , never frozen. Ask your purveyor.
                Freezing kills parasites, but has nothing to do with metal or chemical contaminants.

          3. a
            Apple Jul 12, 2009 12:42 PM

            I am 5 months pregnant. I have not given up sushi at all - in fact, I have about once a week. I am not sure the rules about frozen first (I thought all fish had to be frozen...) My advice is if you choose to continue to eat sushi - do so in only reputatable establishments... not necessary the cheap, high volume places, but places who care about the quality of their product. These days Zen Sushi is the only place that gets my money. The fish is impeccably fresh. (There are other places in the city but this place is close to my office & my home.)

            Although Charles Yu is an expert in many things culinary - but I have reduced my consumption of tuna (sushi or otherwise) dramatically - the fish at the top of the food chain like tuna have high levels of mercury...

            When you are pregnant, everyone feels free to offer you tons of advice- both good & bad. Like everything else in life, become informed and chart your own course.

            And congraulations!

            1 Reply
            1. re: Apple
              aser Jul 12, 2009 12:52 PM

              kudos to you, I'm sure your baby is enjoying those healthy fatty acids found in sushi.

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