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UK Health Board Mandates Freezing of Sushi Fish, Chefs Disagree

UK Health Board Mandates Freezing of Sushi Fish, Chefs Disagree

Top Scots Sushi Chefs say freezing ruins the flavor of Salmon.

Charlie Gall | Daily Record

TOP Scots sushi chefs have been ordered to stop serving raw fish unless they freeze it first.

John Cochrane-Barnett and John Jones were gutted when watchdogs visited their Yatai Japanese Restaurant in Aberdeen to warn them about the law.

The EU directive says raw fish must be frozen to at least -20C for more than a day to kill parasites.

Few restaurants outside Japan actually serve raw fish straight from the sea. Most UK sushi bars have been complying with the freezing formula since 2004.

But the Yatai chefs – who have travelled extensively in the Far East and worked in top restaurants – say following the ruling will make them a laughing stock.

They argue that freezing and defrosting can spoil the taste of salmon, mackerel and whitefish.

Now Yatai, holders of Scotland’s Oriental Restaurant of the Year trophy, are taking sushi and sashimi off the menu unless they can serve up “the real thing”.

John Cochrane-Barnett said: "No one has been following this rule because, until now, it hasn’t been enforced. If your restaurant is serving sushi and sashimi, like us, then environmental health will come and tell you to stop doing it. If we carry on, wecould get an order shutting us down.

“It’s total EU overkill. They are trying to make it safe but, in doing so, they are killing off sushi.

“A trained sushi chef will cut through a salmon and know if it’s contaminated. It’s just ridiculous.”

But the Food Standards Agency insisted: “Parasitic nematodes present a food safety risk.”

© 2009 Daily Record; Glasgow (UK). Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.

A service of YellowBrix, Inc.

© 2009, YellowBrix, Inc.

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