Food Safety - Sushi Rice Guidelines

Background:

Prepared plain white rice (no acid added) has a pH range of 6.0 – 6.7 which makes it a time temperature control for safety food (TCS). Sushi rice is often prepared with vinegar to the extent it may become “acidified” having a pH value of below 4.2. At a pH value of below 4.2, sushi rice is considered a non-TCS food and may be held at room temperature. A Product Assessment (PA) will be required to verify that pH value (see below).

The Department requires any retail food establishment, who prepares sushi rice, to apply for a variance using this application [ LINK] and choosing one of the following methods that will be implemented for safe sushi rice production:

  1. Maintaining Temperature Control
    • Maintain sushi rice either by cold holding at 41°F or below, or hot holding at 135°F or above.
  2. Use Time as a Public Health Control (TPHC)
    • Submit your written procedures for using TPHC. See TPHC topic for additional information.
  3. Acidification
    • Submit your Product Assessment (PA). The PA report must be completed by a recognized process authority or an accredited commercial food laboratory. A new PA is required if the process is modified after approval by the Department.
    • Submit a Standard Operating Procedure to the Department.

 

All of these options require the submission of the Request for a Special Process – Sushi Rice form (DHEC-1849) and any other required documents listed here, to the Variance Committee FoodVariances@dhec.sc.gov. Be prepared to demonstrate your testing procedure upon request during inspections.

Measuring the Acidity (pH) of Sushi Rice by Using a pH Test Strip Paper

Subsequent to initial pH verification from a certified laboratory and approval of the HACCP plan, the following procedures can be used to monitor the pH of your sushi rice:

  • Testing strips for pH must have a working rate from 2.5 to 4.5 (accurate to 0.2 to 0.3)
  • Measure the acidity (pH) of your sushi rice within 30 minutes after acidification (mixing the cooked rice and vinegar solution)
  • Make rice slurry by mixing ¾ cup of distilled water and ¼ cup of sushi rice in a clear plastic or metal cup
  • Stir the slurry mixture for 20 seconds
  • Dip pH test strips into the liquid portion of the rice slurry (according to manufacturer’s recommended time period)
  • Compare the color of the test strip to the color chart
  • Record the pH on the Sushi Rice pH Log
  • If pH is above 4.2, add more vinegar until sushi rice pH is measured at 4.2 or less

Measuring the Acidity (pH) of Sushi Rice by Using a pH Meter

  • Follow manufacturer instructions for calibration and maintenance of the instrument, and maintain calibration and testing records.
  • Measure the acidity (pH) of your sushi rice within 30 minutes after acidification (mixing the cooked rice and vinegar solution)
  • Make rice slurry by mixing ¾ cup of distilled water and ¼ cup of sushi rice in a clear plastic or metal cup
  • Stir the slurry mixture for 20 seconds
  • Dip pH meter into the liquid portion of the rice slurry (according to manufacturer’s recommended time period)
  • Record the pH on the Sushi Rice pH Log
  • If pH is above 4.2, add more vinegar until sushi rice pH is measured at 4.2 or less

Example of a Sushi Rice pH Log:

Monthly Sushi Rice pH Log

Keep the current copy of this log near the sushi rice preparation area. Check the pH of sushi rice using a calibrated pH meter or pH test strip. Sushi rice must be tested on a daily/weekly basis. If the pH of the sushi rice does not meet your HACCP plan, record the corrective action.

Day

pH

Corrective Action

1

4.2

 

2

4.4

Added more vinegar; retested

2

4.2

 

3

4.1

 

Tags

Food Safety