The reasons you shouldn't eat sushi at all-you-can-eat buffets

When it comes to the sometimes-sketchy setup of buffets, there are plenty of items on which diners should take a hard pass — and sushi is no exception.

Think about it: There's a reason for that warning on restaurant menus that states, "Consuming raw or undercooked meats, poultry, seafood, shellfish, or eggs may increase your risk of foodborne illness" (via Livestrong). In other words, sushi consumed even in the best of circumstances remains a risk. The FDA warns that larval-stage parasites — including ick-inducing presences like roundworms, tapeworms, and trematodes — are the biggest issues in "uncooked and undercooked seafood" and "can present a human health hazard," ranging from "mild to moderate illness" to "severe symptoms."

UPMC HealthBeat further warns that raw fish can also contain and transmit bacteria and viruses (contaminated sushi can cause listeria, for example), while parasites can cause a disease called anisakiasis, which leads to food poisoning. Add a buffet setting (where food sits out for indeterminable lengths of time) to these already present concerns, and it's clear that buffet sushi presents even more of a gamble.

The dangers and downsides of buffet sushi

Yes, it's tempting to cash in on the presence of often-expensive sushi when you've already shelled out for an all-you-can-eat feast, but restrain yourself. According to Reader's Digest, buffet sushi can cause foodborne illnesses such as salmonella, which is only exacerbated by the setting — after all, maintaining safe temperatures (even if the food is placed on ice) is a tricky task, and hordes of buffet-goers sharing those same serving utensils means cross-contamination among diners is a distinct possibility.

Then there are downright despicable "sanitation" procedures by individual restaurants that can turn anyone's stomach. In one horrifying example, an inspector recently found a "mold-like substance" on ice and 150-plus "rodent droppings" at a sushi buffet in Florida (via WPLG).

Even without such carelessness, The Daily Meal notes that existing bacteria in fish "can multiply exponentially in as little as an hour," but if getting your money's worth is truly the focus, there's another reason to avoid sushi at the buffet line: All of that rice in premade rolls adds up, filling stomachs fast and ultimately leaving less room for other prime food options.

The verdict? If an endless array of sushi is your goal, it might be safer to visit all-you-can-eat locations that make rolls and sashimi fresh to order instead.