Eat at your own risk: Common health code violations at sushi bars

A look at four documentations typically in violation regarding how sushi is handled in eateries.

PHOENIX - Sushi in America is a $2 billion industry.

When it comes to the thousands of raw fish eateries – there are different things inspectors look for. 

Maricopa County Environmental Health Specialist Christopher McSweeney talked about the four common violations at Sushi restaurants.

“First thing I’ll ask them is about documentation,” said McSweeney. 

4: No Documentation

Sushi restaurants have to keep meticulous notes on everything — primarily, the raw and frozen fish. 

“All sushi fish except for tuna has been frozen,” said McSweeney. 

The date logs need to list every item in the restaurant and what date the fish was frozen, thawed and served.

“A lot of times they won’t have that, so that’s a violation,” said McSweeney. 

3: Rice

Rice must be made fresh every four hours.

“Sushi rice is never refrigerated,” McSweeney said. “They cook it. They keep it room temp.”

Chefs are allowed to spray the grain with rice wine vinegar. This preserves it and allows them to keep the rice all day. 

2: Bamboo rollers and cutting boards 

Restaurants are required to wash the bamboo rollers and cutting boards every four hours.  

They also have to be cautious of keeping the tools that make vegan rolls separated from those with meat and separated from those with peanuts or other allergens.

1: Making sushi without gloves

“The old sushi chefs are used to using their bare hands, so we run into that a lot,” he said. “[When I] walk in,  one of the first things, I do an overall look and a lot of times see the sushi chef with bare hand contact.”

A restaurant can apply with the county for a special license in order to make sushi bare-handed.

If approved: “They have to wash their hands every hour on the hour and keep a log of it.”

To see if your favorite restaurant is on the dirty list, visit 12news.com/dirty.

© 2017 KPNX-TV


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