UK relaxes rules on frozen fish for sushi


SeafoodSource staff

Published on
July 31, 2012

The UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) announced earlier this week that certain farmed fish, like salmon, destined to be consumed raw in dishes like sushi no longer need to be previously frozen to protect consumers from parasites.

Parasites are mainly a problem in certain species of wild fish and can cause illness in humans if eaten, stated the agency, which also warned that all fishery products must be inspected to remove visible parasites before being sold; and that cooking will kill parasites, but freezing kills any that may remain undetected in fish products intended to be consumed raw or almost raw.

After research commissioned by the Food Standards Agency in Scotland showed there is a negligible risk of parasites from farmed salmon, the European Food SafetyAuthority (EFSA) reviewed the available evidence on the presence of parasites in wild and farmed fish.

Following the EFSA review, the European Commission and member states reviewed the hygiene legislation and agreed requirements in December 2011, which allow a risk-based approach to be taken when applying the freezing requirements for fishery products. These requirements are being implemented in all UK countries.

“The relaxation of these rules is good news for responsible fish producers who are making every effort to minimise the risk of parasites in fish,” said Linden Jack of the Food Hygiene Policy Branch of the FSA. “It will mean less of a regulatory burden on their business, without compromising consumer safety. The FSA’s research into this issue played an important part in the review of the controls. It is further evidence of our commitment to apply the most proportionate risk controls on food businesses based on the best science.”

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