Fish & Your Health

Fish and Your Health

We are passionate about the quality of the food we serve. In fact, we see it as our top priority. We hope your palate agrees.

Each of these issues is quite complex, and around them swirls much debate, disagreement, conflicting claims, and confusion. Striking a balance between these four priorities, while serving food that will delight our guests’ palates and honor tradition is, at best, complicated.

While we neither claim to have all the answers nor to have struck the perfect balance of these competing concerns, we are committed to learning as much as we can about each issue, sharing our findings with our guests, and making decisions that best address these sometimes conflicting priorities.

Sushi & Health

Eating a diet rich in healthy fish can bring significant health benefits.

Virtually all of the fish and shellfish we serve contain Omega-3 fatty acids. These “good fats” are necessary for human health, but they must come from food since the body cannot produce them. Omega-3s are thought to play an essential role in brain function as well as normal growth and development. Research has also shown them to be helpful in reducing inflammation and in supporting cognitive and behavioral function.

Below is the calorie count for each individual Set Menu. This count is the best representation of each menu. Items do change from time to time based on fish availability.

Hand Roll Set Menu CALORIES
3 Hand Roll Set 368
4 Hand Roll Set 458
5 Hand Roll Set 621
6 Hand Roll Set 734


Sushi and Food Safety

We understand that food safety is a concern to many people, which is why we are informing our guests about food issues such as foodborne illnesses, food allergies, and natural or man-made environmental contaminants. Our main focus is on methylmercury and the contaminants stemming from Fukushima.  (Please note that it’s always best to consult your physician to find out what dietary choices are right for you.)

Food-borne illnesses can be caused by most foods, but are of particular concern with raw or undercooked seafood, meat, and poultry. Most of the seafood we serve is raw; only our lobster, crab, and eel are fully cooked, and our Nozawa-style shrimp are quickly — but not fully — cooked. We take care to reduce the risk of food-borne illnesses, but it is still possible to become ill from eating our food. Because the effects of foodborne illness can be greater for pregnant women, we recommend that pregnant women not eat raw or undercooked foods, including those served at KazuNori.

Mercury consumption

While mercury consumption can be a concern for people in general, it is of specific concern for pregnant and nursing mothers and small children. Excessive exposure to mercury may compromise the development of the nervous system in unborn and small children. There is debate on the effects of mercury and what constitutes excessive consumption. The FDA and EPA have jointly advised that pregnant women, nursing mothers, and small children should consume no more than twelve ounces of low-mercury fish per week. Although tuna was not specifically addressed in the report, the advisory for mercury-sensitive populations is to limit the consumption of albacore tuna to no more than six ounces per week.

Virtually all ocean fish contain some level of methylmercury. The FDA sets a limit for human consumption at 1.0 part per million (ppm) of methylmercury in fish and shellfish. Since 2010, we have tested samples of a variety of our fish and shellfish once or twice each year. The results have been consistently less than one-half of the FDA’s limit. Our average scores from 2010 to today are less than 0.10 ppm for our salmon, crab, and lobster; less than 0.20 ppm for our halibut, albacore, yellowtail, and snapper; and less than 0.35 ppm for our tuna and fatty tuna.

Despite KazuNori's low levels of mercury, mercury-sensi­tive individuals (pregnant and nursing women and small children) should not exceed the government’s fish consumption guidelines (no more than twelve ounces a week, with no more than six ounces of albacore). We believe that consuming these guideline amounts of fish could lead to “elevated” mercury levels in some people.

An individual’s mercury level can be determined with a blood test. While there is debate about the health impact of elevated mercury test scores, defined as levels above 10, there is agreement that levels above 50 are be considered toxic and exposure to mercury needs to be reduced. Some doctors believe that you should stop eating fish if your scores are at all elevated. Our research indicates that you should consult with a physician who has expertise in mercury and who can make specific recommendations for you.

We analyze our salmon for PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls).  While our research shows that this may now be uncommon, in the past salmon and other fish were farmed or caught in areas contaminated with industrial emissions. Our salmon, an Atlantic King Salmon that comes from Scotland, has shown no detectable levels of PCBs in every annual test we have performed since 2010 (note: we did not test our salmon in 2012).

We test certain species of our fish and shellfish for added phosphates and for the use of antibiotics. Our fish have not tested positive in either of these tests.

The test results

We decided to supplement these official findings with radiation testing of our own. In August 2012, we engaged an independent laboratory to test our large scallops for cesium-137 and cesium-134.

In October 2013, we had our albacore, blue crab, large scallops, yellowtail, tuna, shrimp, unagi, and seaweed, all sourced from the Pacific Ocean, tested. We also sent out four samples of items that frequently appear on Nozawa Bar’s daily menu and are sourced from Japanese waters — octopus, jellyfish, skipjack tuna, and amberjack — to be tested for radiation.

Radiation was not detected in any of our samples, with a reporting limit of 1.0 pCi/g (average picocuries per gram, a standard measurement for cesium).  1.0 pCi/g is 10 times less than the threshold the FDA sets for the level of concern in baby food. We will continue to rely on our government to protect the food supply but we will also continue to supplement their findings with our own independent radiation testing as we think appropriate.

In addition to environmental toxins, we also monitor the properties of the fish we serve. Escolar, a species of fish that sometimes appears on the menu at KazuNori, can cause an allergic-like reaction in many people. While we don’t serve it often, we offer it at times because it is a rich, delicious, and buttery fish. It contains a high amount of wax esters that our stomachs cannot digest. Some people may have a strong gastrointestinal reaction, also known as keiorrhea, to these esters.  If you have ever had such a reaction or are concerned about how your stomach may react, please do not eat escolar. The common recommendation we have researched is that you should eat no more than 5 or 6 ounces at one time. At KazuNori, we limit the serving size to less than one ounce per person, and we will not serve escolar to children. We also request that every person who orders escolar be informed by reviewing this information.  While we believe that our patrons should not experience any reactions with our small serving size, we cannot be sure.

If you have a food allergy, please tell your server. Please let us know about any food allergies while we take allergies seriously and have allergy procedures in place, different forms of allergens are present in our kitchen and cross-contamination is always possible.  We love serving all of our guests, but if you have a severe allergy, we recommend not eating in our restaurant.

For those allergic to gluten our house-made soy and ponzu sauces contain gluten.


Sushi and Mislabeling

Seafood mislabeling gets quite a bit of press attention from time to time. It turns out this issue is a lot more complex than people think. We have taken a leading role with Loyola Marymont University in the LA Seafood Monitoring Project which aims to significantly reduce the incidence of confusion, mislabeling, and at time fraud that exists in LA sushi restaurants.

Below are details on some of the items that there is often confusion about:

• Our Hirame is paralichthys dentatus or Fluke from the northeastern coast of the US; it’s sometimes called Halibut in sushi restaurants in LA.

• Our NZ Sea Bream is pagrus auratus from New Zealand. It was called NZ Snapper until June of 2018.

• Our Kampachi is seriola rivoliana is from Hawaii and is known as Longfin Amberjack or Almaco Jack.

• Our Hamachi is seriola quinqueradiata, or Japanese Yellowtail. When this fish is older and larger, it is called Buri in Japan.

• Salmon is salmo solar, which is North Atlantic Scottish Salmon.

• Tuna can be one of many species. Our tuna is thunnus obesus (Big-eye),or thunnus albacares (Yellowfin) or in some cases thunnus orientalis/thunnus maccoyii (Bluefin from the Pacific). Albacore, or thunnus alalunga, is also a tuna, but we usually refer to it as Albacore.


Sushi and Sustainability

This is one of the toughest issues. How do we serve great sushi that satisfies our requirements for food safety, healthfulness, and exceptional quality without excessively burdening the oceans?

Not surprisingly, this issue is rife with great debate and disagreement. Our hope is that a combination of more stringent commercial fishing regulations and new methods of the ecologically-friendly ocean- and land-based fish farming will reduce the strain of the growing demand for fish and shellfish. Meanwhile, we strive to source and purchase farmed fish and shellfish where new, more sustainable techniques are utilized and to find wild fish that is managed or caught responsibly. We do this realizing that the level of debate on these topics makes “knowing” what to do sometimes unclear.

We want to continue to serve delicious sushi made with nutritious and healthy fish. To that end, you will see us experiment with new, more ecologically friendly menu items that may replace existing items if we become concerned about them from a sustainability perspective. We will also continue to research these topics to be able to make the best decisions we can for our guests, the oceans, and our future.

We will continue to share information with our guests on these topics, and as always, we welcome your comments.