Mercury Rising? Not Quite

In addition to the influx of upscale joints plating up astronomically priced maki and nigiri in neighborhoods already drowning in the stuff, yet another alarming trend in the raw fish industry has emerged this week, this one outside our city boundaries. On Wednesday, the New York Times released the results of independent research on mercury levels in raw tuna (mostly of the bluefin variety) served in Manhattan sushi establishments, and needless to say, the results are disturbing:

“Recent laboratory tests found so much mercury in tuna sushi from 20 Manhattan stores and restaurants that at most of them, a regular diet of six pieces a week would exceed the levels considered acceptable by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Sushi from 5 of the 20 places had mercury levels so high that the Food and Drug Administration could take legal action to remove the fish from the market.”

So does this mean Bostonians should drop the chopsticks and head for the nearest Applebee’s? Not quite yet.

“It’s a pretty interesting scare, and obviously I think local restaurants will be looking more into it,” says Tim Panagopoulos, owner of OSushi in the Back Bay. He also points out that he “[feels] pretty confident in Boston sushi houses, because we deal with stricter guidelines than the rest of the country.”

That sounds fine, but we’ll probably stick with shrimp tempura rolls for awhile.