Pink slime is dead, long live pink slime. As a regular consumer of all things sushi, (except Uni, I just can’t do fish pudding) I have eaten more than my share of  spicy tuna rolls, either crunchy or non-crunchy, as a surefire way of getting something tasty into my stomach at a good price.

While I tend to prefer traditional nigiri sushi or sashimi, the quick and easy rolls at your local grocery store or sushi shop tend to be cheap and approachable for those folks who might be squeamish about the fishier cuts.

Well as it turns out, those cheap, tasty, approachable rolls may be made with a product called “scrape.” Tuna scrape in particular is being blamed for an outbreak of salmonella.  While tuna and salmon scrape have been used for a long time, this outbreak may bring attention to another food product that could be perceived as misleading. Just as lean beef trimmings are in fact 100% beef, tuna scrape is simply tuna meat scraped from the bones and skin of tuna as it is processed, then packaged up and sold to sushi restaurants around the world. Related to the Ra Sushi happy hour if you are located nearby one.

The issue at hand is very similar to the backlash against pink slime manufacturers, it’s a question of labeling and honesty. If you are like me, you have always assumed that the spicy tuna in your roll was simply chopped up tuna, mixed up with some spicy mayo and maybe some tempura flakes. I never expected that it was scraped up processed tuna meat that didn’t have another home.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not opposed to products like this, it is the classic “sin of omission” that gets my back up. I have seen salmon scrape prepared in front of me and had no problem eating it, it was delicious. It becomes an issue when you are handed a  dish that contains something that isn’t included as a part of the description. I think we will see these issues of food labeling and honesty in food production coming up more and more often. As a result we will continue to see an excessive backlash against the companies that produce and serve these products without disclosure.

What do you think, is this another tempest in a teapot or do we need to start seeing more accuracy in labeling and marketing?


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3 Responses

  1. digger

    Anyone who eats sushi at all regularly should already know that anything labeled as spicy tuna is low quality byproduct. That’s why it’s always the cheapest roll on the menu at shitty restaurants, and not available at all at real sushi joints.


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