How Long Can Sushi Sit Out

Sushi is known for being a healthy and delicious meal, but food safety is essential when consuming raw fish. Sushi has been a favorite dish in many countries, but the specific way it is prepared requires it to be handled with care to avoid health risks.So,how long can sushi sit out?

In this article, we will be discussing the importance of food safety when it comes to sushi and how it can be achieved.

how long can sushi sit out

What is Sushi and How is it Prepared?

Sushi is a Japanese dish that typically consists of vinegared rice, raw fish, and vegetables. The most common type of sushi is sushi rolls, which are made by wrapping the ingredients in a sheet of seaweed, also known as nori. Sushi can also be prepared in other forms, such as nigiri, which are small bites of rice topped with raw fish.

It is essential to note that sushi should be prepared in a sanitary environment to prevent contamination. Also, the fish used in sushi must be of high quality and free of bacteria and parasites to avoid foodborne illnesses.

How Long Can Sushi Sit Out?

Sushi should not be left out in room temperature for more than two hours. At this point, harmful bacteria can start to grow, and the sushi becomes unsafe to eat. This is because the bacteria present in the raw fish can multiply rapidly in a warm and humid environment.

Moreover, bacteria can make toxins that are harmful to the human body, even in the absence of the bacteria. When the toxin level is too high, eating the food that contains them can cause severe illness such as paralysis, respiratory failure, and death.

Some sushi restaurants offer takeouts or deliveries, and it is just as essential to make sure the sushi is kept at the correct temperature during transportation. If your sushi is delivered or picked up, make sure it is kept in a cooler or refrigerator and consumed quickly before it goes above the safe temperature of 40°F.

how long can sushi sit out

How to Tell if Sushi Has Gone Bad?

It can be hard to determine if sushi has gone bad since the fish used in sushi is typically raw. However, there are some signs that can be seen and smelt to determine if sushi is no longer safe to eat:

– Smell: Sushi that has gone bad will have a sour or rancid smell. If the fish smells overly fishy or off, it might not be safe to consume.
Color: The color of the fish used in sushi should be vibrant and not have any discoloration. If the fish looks dull, gray, or has dark spots, it might be spoiling.
– Texture: When sushi is no longer fresh, the texture of the rice will become hard and dry, and the fish will become slimy.

If you have any doubts about the quality of the sushi, it is recommended not to consume it.

What are the Health Risks of Consuming Old Sushi?

Consuming old sushi can have severe health consequences. The bacteria or toxins that develop on sushi can cause foodborne illnesses like Salmonella, Vibrio, and Listeria.

These bacteria can cause symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and fever. In severe cases, they can lead to food poisoning, which can lead to dehydration, kidney failure, or even death.

One of the most common bacteria found in raw fish is Vibrio, which can cause a severe infection called Vibrio parahaemolyticus. This bacterium can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain within a few hours of consuming the contaminated sushi.

People with weakened immune systems or chronic illnesses are at higher risk of contracting it.Another pathogen found in raw fish is Listeria monocytogenes, which is a type of bacteria that can cause Listeriosis.

This bacterium can cause fever, chills, headache, and muscle aches within a few days of consuming contaminated sushi. Pregnant women and their unborn babies, as well as older adults and people with weakened immune systems, are at higher risk of contracting the disease.

how long can sushi sit out

What to Do if You Suspect You’ve Consumed Spoilt Sushi?

If you suspect that you have consumed old sushi, seek medical treatment immediately. If you experience severe symptoms like high fever, dehydration, or blood in your diarrhea, go to the emergency room.

If you become ill after eating sushi, report your symptoms to your local health department. This will help them track down the source of the contamination to prevent others from getting sick. Avoid eating sushi until you are healthy again and avoid consuming raw fish during pregnancy.


Sushi can be a healthy and delicious meal, but it requires proper handling and preparation to prevent foodborne illnesses. Raw fish can harbor harmful bacteria and toxins that can be life-threatening to eat.

The sushi should be kept at the safe temperature of 40°F or less, and any sushi left out for more than two hours should be discarded.It is essential to pay attention to the signs that sushi has gone bad to avoid getting sick.

If you suspect you’ve eaten spoilt sushi or experience any symptoms of food poisoning, seek medical attention immediately. Sushi can be enjoyed in a safe and healthy manner if proper food safety practices are observed.


 1. How long can sushi sit out at room temperature?
Sushi should only be left at room temperature (between 68°F and 72°F) for a maximum of two hours. Any longer than that, and bacteria that can cause food poisoning will start to grow rapidly. Therefore, it is crucial to keep sushi refrigerated until you are ready to eat it.

2. Can I store sushi in the fridge for a few days?
If you plan to keep sushi in the fridge, you should consume it within 24 hours of purchase or preparation. After that, the quality and freshness can deteriorate, and bacteria can still grow within the sushi.

3. What temperature should I keep sushi at?
The best temperature to store sushi is at 32°F to 41°F to prevent bacteria growth. If you are storing sushi at home, keep it in the fridge or a cooler. If you are transporting sushi, use an insulated container with frozen gel packs to keep it cold.

4. Can I store leftover sushi?
Leftover sushi can be stored in the fridge if it has not been exposed to air, moisture, or bacteria. Remove any sauces, wasabi, or ginger before storing the sushi in an airtight container, and consume it within 24 hours.

5. What are the health risks of eating sushi that has been stored improperly?
Sushi that has been stored improperly can be dangerous to eat. The growth of bacteria can cause food poisoning, which can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, fever, and other severe health issues.

6. How can I tell if sushi has gone bad?
If sushi has gone bad, it will have a sour, fishy, or ammonia-like smell. Also, it may appear slimy or moldy, and the texture may be mushy or soft. If you notice any of these signs, do not eat the sushi as it may cause food poisoning.


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