Those bent on eating only the freshest grub should get their fill of sushi and ceviche this summer because, come August, all raw fish in the city must be frozen before serving. The change is part of updates to the city's health regulations, published this week, that are meant to cut down on the risk of people getting parasites from their food. But, as the Times reports, the restaurant industry has a sanitary little secret: most raw fish, even at the most high-end places, is already being frozen.
"By all indications, everyone will be enjoying the same quality of sushi," said Jamse Versocki, lawyer for the New York City chapter of the New York State Restaurant Association. Veroscki told the Times the overwhelming majority of fish served is already flash-frozen at some point.
An executive at Times Square's Sushi Zen said the restaurant already uses medical-grade cryogenic freezers to zap its fish with negative-83-degree cold, and that its clientele doesn't suspect a thing.
"I'm pretty sure our customers are not able to tell," said Yuta Suzuki, a vice president of the restaurant.
The Restaurant Association had opposed reporting requirements included in an earlier version of the regulations, but is now on board with the freezing mandate. Shellfish, farm-raised fish, and certain types of tuna are exempt.