The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) recently released the findings of a targeted audit that shows that 90% of audited sushi production and processing facilities in Ireland fall short of health standards.
The report showed that the audit of sushi manufacturers, restaurants and takeaway outlets, revealed 76 breaches of food safety regulations.
'The audit was undertaken due to a reported 80% increase in the number of restaurants offering sushi since 2018,' the statutory body explained.
"There has been rapid growth in demand for sushi, which can be perceived as a healthy food option by consumers," said Dr Pamela Byrne, chief executive, FSAI.
"Our audit sought to establish if food safety controls were being followed and the findings are very concerning.
According to Byrne raw fish from both fresh water and salt water can be a potential source of human infection due to the presence of parasites.
Therefore, controls to ensure the raw fish used in sushi is parasite free are critical, as there is no cooking process in sushi to kill off potentially harmful parasites.
"The audit focussed on the food safety controls in place regarding the freezing of fish for parasite control and time/temperature controls, and pH controls for acidified sushi rice," she explained.
"It showed that over three quarters of the food businesses did not have adequate food safety controls in place for this."
To coincide with the audit being published, the FSAI has produced new advice on the safe production of sushi to assist sushi producers to comply with the law and the advice is available here.
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