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I'd always assumed that if you start with safe fish (appropriately stored/frozen), stay with "normal" fish (i.e. don't try to prepare poisonous puffer fish at home), and follow normal food hygiene practices, it was "safe".

And indeed, for years I've been going to the local Japanese market fish counter, and asking for "fish for sushi". The gentleman behind the counter then recommends some fish, optionally slices it for me, wraps it up and I take it home and make various types of sushi.

Is this correct, or am I missing something? Is there some special technique that I need to follow at home to make safe-sushi?

To be clear, I'm not asking about the safety of the fish itself, I trust the Japanese market fish counter to sell me sushi-safe fish.

  • My question assumes the fish is "safe"... I'm nore interested in what the "way more to sushi safety" is. – Johnny Nov 22 '18 at 16:32
  • That's why I asked. As I said, this point was added as a comment in another question and got 4 upvotes so there are apparently at least 5 people that agree that there is way more to sushi safety so it requires a Japan trained sushi chef to prepare safely. – Johnny Nov 22 '18 at 17:13
  • the word "safe" has two separate meanings. One of them is that food meets all regulations mandated by an official body such as the FDA. The other is that people feel emotionally safe eating it. Our site explicitly does not deal with the second one, since it is terribly subjective. Questions on safety are always interpreted as having the first meaning, and answers about the second meaning are removed. The post you are referring to was a comment, so it was not moderated. Nevertheless, I am 99% sure it is based on a personal feeling, which would make your question off topic. – rumtscho Nov 22 '18 at 19:58
  • Should it have been related to a regulation, then answers should be posted under the existing, older questions about sushi safety we have. So I am going to close this as a duplicate. To be completely fair, I think I will edit a sentence about the safety of sushi beyond the fish source into our canonical sushi safety question, which will be the duplicate target. – rumtscho Nov 22 '18 at 20:00
  • I don't understand how that's a duplicate when the accepted answer on that "duplicate" only addresses the safety of the fish (as do the other answers). I don't understand why you'd edit the question to address general sushi preparation safety 8 years after the question was asked and answered when that question was very specifically asking about the safety of the fish. I tried to be clear here that I'm not asking about fish, this question is about general sushi preparation safety. – Johnny Nov 22 '18 at 21:24
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The safety of making sushi at home really boils down to

  1. Ensuring that your fish meets the criteria for sushi-suitable fish, and
  2. Following standard food safety practices for everything else.

There are regulations meant for businesses which confirm that, you can find them under Guidance for Processing Sushi in Retail Operations. You cannot apply them 1:1 as a consumer (for example, I don't know of a way to ensure that your fish was not "harvested from known or designated areas that are problematic for ciguatera"), but they give you a maximum framework you can try to reach. You can see that there are no gotchas there, just what you'd expect for any food, plus fish advice.

For getting fish that is as safe as possible, please refer to this question: Can store bought salmon be used for sashimi?. For standard food safety practices beyond that, pleases see our writeup on food safety, https://cooking.stackexchange.com/tags/food-safety/info.

There is one deviation which is allowed by the guidance above: if you are willing to measure the pH of your rice-and-vinegar mixture, you are allowed to keep the rice inside the danger zone. However, this is not an extra safety restriction, but rather a kind of special dispensation - if you refrigerate the rice promptly as per standard food safety rules, it becomes irrelevant. For home cooking, there is no need to keep a tub of rice on the counter all the time.

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