A Little Carbon Monoxide to Enhance your Sushi?

 Annice

Annice 

A few weeks ago, after the long awaited grand opening of our new Harris Teeter supermarket, I decided to drop by after Terra’s obedience class.  It was past dinner time, I was hungry, and parking was at a premium.

Harris Teeter

Very nice, I thought, as I strolled the aisles.  Yep, everything is here:  gorgeous looking produce, 20,000 cereal boxes, and a very attractive deli counter.  Perfect, I thought, I’ll just grab some sushi, buy a few apples, and go home to eat.

sushi counter

The sushi looked divine.  I picked up the first package and noticed an oversized label.  WTF – “carbon monoxide added to retain flavor?” (Question mark, mine).  I re-read the label 3 times – “carbon monoxide added to retain flavor,” not to mention all the other chemicals on the label.  I picked up a few other varieties, and there in bold print – “carbon monoxide added to retain flavor.”

I politely (as least I thought I was) spoke to the help behind the counter:  “Excuse me, am I reading this right?  You put carbon monoxide in the sushi?” One would have thought I had the plague, the way everyone stepped back about three feet.  They looked at me, looked at each other, and kind of shrugged their shoulders.  No one said a word.  “Really?” I asked.  “Carbon Monoxide?”  At that point, others around the deli counter seemed to be gathering and waiting for an answer.  I started to feel a little embarrassed for the counter help.  Surely they were excited to have a new job at the new Harris Teeter.  I was not trying to create a scene, but the sushi a la carbon monoxide really got the better of me.  At last, someone spoke up:  “Yes, it’s to retain color, and it’s approved by the FDA.”

sushi

Oh yeah, that made me feel better.  Japan, Canada and the countries of the European Union have banned the practice because of fears that it could be used to mask spoiled fish.

I moved on to buy some organic apples, and despite the fact that our region is the 3rd or 4th largest apple producer in the country- no local organic apples.  I will admit, I don’t always eat organic, but I do like my apples to be just that.

Once home, I just had to Google the use of carbon monoxide in fish, and I learned that not only are fish brokers, supermarkets and restaurants using carbon monoxide for fish, but it’s being used on beef, too, to keep that raw red color. 

For all you sushi eaters out there, Whole Foods and our local Earth Fare stores do not use carbon monoxide to retain color.  

Here are some useful links:

http://www.harristeeter.com/

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/carbon-monoxide/DS00648

5 thoughts on “A Little Carbon Monoxide to Enhance your Sushi?

  1. Just a reminder: I choose to eat organic foods 98.9% of the time. I have to read and check labels at Greenlife (Whole Foods). Their food is not always organic. I don’t shop at Earth Fare; it’s not convenient for me. I DO shop at the Co-op and appreciate knowing that their food is organic. Also they support local farmers as much as possible. I appreciate their integrity and their history of bringing healthy foods to the community.

  2. Unbelievable. I wonder how many “sushi” trays Harris Teeter sells? I mean, why would they make them if people don’t buy them, right?
    OMG! Annice, you should have an investigative column because you sure know the scoop on things!

  3. OMG! I actually went into Harris Teeter and walked by their sushi counter, and thought how great it looked, keeping it in mind for a future easy lunch or dinner. Thanks for letting me know, Annice. I won’t bother now.

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