New York City mandates freezing of fish intended to be served raw or undercooked.

  • Section 3-201.11(D) of FDA’s 2013 Food Code recommends that most fish intended for consumption in raw or undercooked form be offered for sale or service only if they are obtained from a supplier that freezes the fish or if they are frozen on the premises prior to sale or service.  Published by FDA, the Food Code serves as a model for retail and food service regulations nationwide.  FDA urges state, local, tribal, and territorial regulatory bodies to adopt the latest version of the Food Code.
  • Beginning in August 2015, New York City will require fish served raw or undercooked in restaurants to be frozen prior to serving, in alignment with the Food Code recommendation.  Under new rules promulgated by the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, fish must be stored in a freezer for a minimum time period ranging from 15 hours to one week, depending on the temperatures used in freezing and storage.  Certain seafood is exempt from the rule, e.g., shellfish, farm-raised fish, and certain types of tuna.  These exemptions also exist in Section 3-402.11(B) of the Food Code.
  • The new food safety regulations are intended to eliminate the threat of parasites and harmful pathogens, such as bacteria, that may be present in seafood products.  The regulations also serve to illustrate a practical example of how localities may take action to give legal effect to provisions of the Food Code.