A sushi council was just formed in the US


A trade group representing the seafood industry in the U.S. has launched a collaborative effort to raise quality and safety standards in the local sushi market.

A council of sushi leaders: The National Fisheries Institute (NFI), headquartered in Reston, Virginia, announced on Feb. 20 that it established the NFI Sushi Council, a consortium composed of harvesters, processors, distributors and end-users committed to improving sushi’s specialized supply chain. The council’s founding members include Aquamar, BlueNalu, Blue Ocean Mariculture, Culimer USA LLC, Eastern Fish Company, Red Shell Sushi, Shinkei Systems Corp and True World Foods.

Driving the news: The council’s formation comes amid American consumers’ growing appetite for sushi. In 2022 alone, the sushi restaurant sector reached a value of $27.9 billion, representing a 23.51% increase from the previous year's $22.59 billion, according to Statista. Last year, Americans consumed a staggering 282.3 million sushi servings, with the majority (238.6 million) enjoyed at restaurants and a growing portion (43.7 million) purchased from grocery stores.

“The surge in popularity of raw and ready-to-eat products needs to be met with a similarly robust industry voice that advocates and advances the highest standard of handling and preparation for seafood destined for the sushi market,” said Chairman Michael McNicholas of Culimer USA LLC.

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What the group intends to do: The council said it plans to develop practical food safety guidelines specific for the sushi industry. It has established a working group with experts from industry, government and academia helping to identify potential hazards throughout the sushi supply chain and recommend control measures to mitigate them. By utilizing existing regulations and incorporating insights from various experts, the group will be able to create clear and accessible resources.

What’s to come: Daryl Gormley, CEO of Aquamar, a key member of the council's executive committee, revealed that they are actively “recruiting partners to join this effort now.” The council said it opened its invitation to stakeholders throughout sushi's global supply line to join them in elevating industry benchmarks around the world.

The council is set to convene during the Seafood Expo North America in Boston on March 11 to discuss the dynamics of the U.S. sushi market and its overarching food safety mandate. They encourage companies involved in the sushi supply chain to enlist as founding council members before April 1.

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