A recent food poising event in Queensland was found to have been caused by the consumption of poorly handled and stored sushi. The media would have us all believe that sushi is just the worst food around in terms of food poisoning but the figures show that in Australia, eggs remain as the number one food making Australians sick.
Sushi is an issue though as it’s popularity is rapidly increasing according to recent findings from research done by Roy Morgan Research. The problem is that as this product increases in popularity there will be more and more businesses wanting to get in on the trend, and not all of them will have the right food safety standards, like the business which caused the food poisoning in Brisbane in January.
It is really interesting that in the five years since July 2009, there has been an increase to 40 percent of those surveyed in this research who liked eating sushi regularly. At the same time the ever popular spring roll has dropped to only 35 percent of people liking to eat them.
So it seems that the idea of fresh food (sushi) is starting to beat out the fried alternative (the spring roll). This is supported by findings in the research showing that other fried foods like dim sims and hot chips are also declining in popularity.
Angela Smith, Group Account Director, Roy Morgan Research, said; “There’s no doubt that Australia is the land of the rising sushi, with new sushi outlets springing up quicker than sushi fans can get to them. And if this popularity continues to grow, we’ll no doubt see more of them.”
There is an age and gender influence on the battle between sushi and spring rolls – women prefer sushi by 43 percent to 37percent for men, whilst 37 percent of men prefer spring rolls to 34 percent of women.
Australians under 50 years old prefer sushi with the 18-24 year olds being the big lovers of it, but interestingly, it is the under 18s being the big spring roll eaters at 50 percent of those surveyed.
Ms Smith said; “Commonly perceived as a healthy food, sushi is especially favoured by people who watch what they eat,” said. “Fried spring rolls, on the other hand, attract an above-average proportion of people who care more about taste and convenience than calories. Both food types are more popular with Australians aged under 50, and with those who agree that they ‘enjoy food from all over the world. Of course, many of us like both sushi and spring rolls, depending on what’s available and whether we’re in the mood for fresh or fried food. But the fact that more of us are developing a taste for sushi while fewer are enjoying spring rolls and other fried food suggests that our appetite for fresh is winning out.”
So with this increasing trend, how can consumers check if the sushi is safe – if the surfaces in the business are clean, the staff seem to have good hygiene and the sushi, and it’s display equipment, are very cold, there is a good chance that this delicious food will be safe for consumption. If the public finds businesses that do not meet these basic food safety requirements, then they should not purchase this potentially hazardous food from that venue and should report it to their local council.
Written by Rachelle Williams, The Green Food Safety Coach.