At Tara Temple in Arlington, Sushi chefs say they follow strict sanitary guidelines: wearing gloves while preparing meals, repeatedly checking fridge temperatures and routinely wiping down knives and cutting boards.
“Once you cut a fish, you have to go back and wash it,” said sushi chef Bigler Franco.
Sushi restaurant owners are worried about news reports that yellow fin tuna - often used in spicy tuna rolls - has been linked with a salmonella outbreak—affecting over 100 people across the country—including at least 11 in Maryland, five in Virginia and two in D.C.
The Food and Drug Administration says 12 people have been hospitalized, but no deaths have been reported.
At Tara Temple, they don’t serve yellow fin tuna, because the restaurant says Bluefin tuna is of higher quality. Still, the head chef says he would still eat yellow fin.
“When you get like a wild fish, you got to know how to take care of it. Otherwise the wild fish contains more bacteria’s and things like that…So you have to be more careful about that,” Franco said.
Despite all the recent headlines about salmonella and new concern about spicy tuna in particular, sushi lovers say they still plan on ordering and eating it, regardless.
“I actually order it every time I come in here,” said Arlington resident Jessica Ward.
Some customers say they opt for cooked sushi.
Others say food poisoning is a risk, no matter what or where you eat.
“Salmonella is not just unique to raw fish…so, you take that risk if a hamburger's not cooked enough, steak is medium or less,” said Arlington resident Carman Gill.
Still, the FDA recommends people be cautious when eating raw seafood: inquire about the source, and when in doubt, don’t eat it.