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Clin Infect Dis. 2015 May 1;60(9):e43-8. doi: 10.1093/cid/civ057. Epub 2015 Feb 18.

Is the quality of sushi ruined by freezing raw fish and squid? A randomized double-blind trial with sensory evaluation using discrimination testing.

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Division of Infectious Diseases Therapeutics, Kobe University Graduate School of Medicine.
Innovative Clinical Research Center (iCREK), Kanazawa University Hospital, Japan.



Sushi is a traditional Japanese cuisine enjoyed worldwide. However, using raw fish to make sushi may pose risk of certain parasitic infections, such as anisakidosis, which is most reported in Japan. This risk of infection can be eliminated by freezing fish; however, Japanese people are hesitant to freeze fish because it is believed that freezing ruins sushi's taste.


A randomized double-blind trial with discrimination testing was conducted to examine the ability of Japanese individuals to distinguish between frozen and unfrozen sushi. A pair of mackerel and squid sushi, one once frozen and the other not, was provided to the participants, and they were asked to answer which one tasted better.


Among 120 rounds of discrimination testing involving the consumption of 240 pieces of mackerel sushi, unfrozen sushi was believed to taste better in 42.5% (51 dishes) of cases, frozen sushi was thought to taste better in 49.2% (59 dishes), and the participants felt the taste was the same in 8.3% (10 dishes). The odds ratio for selecting unfrozen sushi as "tastes better" over frozen sushi was 0.86 (95% confidence interval [CI], .59-1.26; P = .45). For squid, unfrozen sushi was believed to be superior 48.3% of the time (58 dishes), and frozen sushi, 35.0% of the time (42 dishes). They were felt to be the same in 16.7% (20 dishes) (odds ratio, 1.38; 95% CI, .93-2.05; P = .11).


Freezing raw fish did not ruin sushi's taste. These findings may encourage the practice of freezing fish before using it in sushi, helping to decrease the incidence of anisakidosis.


anisakidosis; freezing; sensory evaluation; sushi

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