How Safe is Raw Seafood?

If the cavemen ate it, it has to be okay…right? We might still eat raw seafood like they did, but we know a little more about it. This influx of knowledge forces many of us to question the consumption method. Restaurants have been serving raw dishes like sushi and ceviche for ages, but they know the associated health risks and proper precautions. Home chefs are starting to experiment with raw dishes, so it’s more important than ever to know how safe uncooked fish really is.

 

Risky Business

Unfortunately, we’re not talking about a young Tom Cruise in dark sunglasses. We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but there’s always a risk of infection or food poisoning associated with eating raw seafood. All uncooked fish potentially carries parasites and microbes, although proper handling and preparation can prevent this.

So, what’s the best way to eliminate the risk? If you plan on serving raw fish at home, make sure you purchase the highest quality fish from a knowledgeable fishmonger. Tell him upfront that it’s going to be consumed raw. If you’re heading to a restaurant for some sushi or ceviche, make sure their fish is high quality and they have a good reputation. And if you’re headed to Marker 32 (All the smart people are!), you’re in amazing hands. Our chefs are experts and our seafood is top quality.

Recommended Marker 32 Raw Dish: Yellowfin Tuna Poke

 

Stay on the Safe Side

Whether you’re eating out or staying in, exercise caution before biting into raw fish.

Cooking at home: We’re about to tell you something that goes against our in-house cooking habits. Opt for frozen fish if you’re planning on serving it raw. Shocking, we know! Your trusted fishmonger will likely serve you fresh yet frozen fish because the freezing process is known to kill off most parasites. The FDA requires that before consuming raw fish, the fish must be stored at certain temperatures and frozen for a specific time. Here are the specifics:

  1. Frozen at -35°C (-31°F) or below until solid and kept at -35°C (-31°F) or below for 15+ hours; or
  2. Frozen and kept at a temperature of -20°C (-4°F) or below for 168+ hours (7 days) in a freezer; or
  3. Frozen at -35°C (-31°F) or below until solid and stored at -20°C (-4°F) or below for 24+ hours.

Our expert opinion: keep raw fish on the menu, but shop wisely and be smart with how you store it.

Recommended Marker 32 Raw Dish:Salmon Tartare

 

Not a Time to Explore Your Inner Daredevil

People who walk on the wild side and experiment with dishes like fugu, the poisonous flesh of a puffer fish, give the raw food game a bad name. Many people die every year by trying to serve or consume fugu. Not a risk worth taking!

Trying new foods isn’t a time you want to visit a fast food sushi place or somewhere you don’t trust. Not only does the fish have to be carefully handled, but the rice used in sushi does, too. Sushi rice has to be dipped in vinegar solution to lower the pH. The combination of freezing the fish and submerging the rice kills harmful microbes and makes sushi safe for foodies.

A couple tips on eating raw and staying happy:

  • Eat sushi ASAP and definitely within 24 hours. Never let it sit in your fridge for longer, the environment is a breeding ground for bacteria.
  • If you’re set on preparing your own raw fish, buy sushi-grade fish that’s in accordance with FDA guidelines.

Recommended Marker 32 Raw Dish:Oysters On The Half Shell

 

We’re full of wisdom when it comes to preparing your own raw seafood, but the safest and most delicious way to consume it is at a good restaurant. We might be biased, but the chefs at Marker 32 are awesome and know exactly what they’re doing. And not only will your entree be safe to consume, it’ll also taste incredible! When you’re in the mood to expand your palette, our raw bar is waiting for you in all its glory.