Reddit Is Unsure About Costco's $4 Sushi

If there's anything the old saying of "you get what you pay for" can apply to, it's food. It refers to the idea that if you pay very little for something, it might not be as good as something you could have paid a bit more for. This doesn't mean that all cheap foods are inherently bad, of course, but sometimes those prices reflect the quality of the product itself. If you were to get a burger for 50 cents, for example, it's not exactly going to be the highest-quality burger you'll ever eat. 

There are also some things that can give red flags when listed as cheap. Seafood, in particular, is notable for having an inverse correlation between quality and price. The lower the cost, the more likely the seafood may not be of the highest quality. Low-quality and improperly-prepared fish can lead to a variety of illnesses, reports the CDC, ranging from shellfish poisoning to scombroid. It's why people avoid the lure of cheap seafood, choosing to value health over thrift and endless shrimp. 

It's perhaps why Redditors weren't so eager to jump on Costco's $4 sushi tray. In fact, one user, in particular, described the sushi as being "really dry, hard, and flavorless" and "hands-down, some of the worst sushi I have ever eaten." 

If selling undercooked seafood at such low prices can get people sick, why exactly would Costco be selling it then?

Costco's sushi has imitation crab meat

How exactly can Costco sell sushi so cheap, even when the stigma of cheap seafood warns people against purchasing it? After all, why knowingly sell a product that can get people sick? Fortunately, Costco's cheap sushi doesn't seem to contain any raw fish ± or any real fish for that matter. One user noticed that while the sushi was mostly rice and vegetables, it was a California roll, which meant that it would include crab meat.

"It's just imitation crab meat, avocado (from Mexico) and cucumbers with some sesame seeds," wrote one Redditor. "California roll, safe. Boring. Reliable." If it's imitation crab meat instead of real fish in sushi, does that mean it's still safe to eat?

According to Prepared Cooks, imitation crab meat — a blend of starch and white fish — is actually safe to consume raw as it is usually pre-cooked. They do warn, however, that it is best to consume raw imitation crab when it's frozen or from the fridge, and not at room temperature. Crab meat can also cause sickness if not properly prepared, such as one case in 2006 where poor food handling led to an outbreak of salmonella from contaminated crab meat (via Marler Clark).

While Costco's sushi may be safe to eat, it seems that some Redditors would rather ignore the low price and skip it altogether. If you're still looking for some quality seafood, Costco does offer some garlic butter shrimp — at a higher price than its sushi.