Can You Eat Raw Shrimp?

Shrimp is one of the most popular kinds of seafood eaten all over the globe. Their plump middle and tail have made them a sought-after delicacy among humans.

Shrimp are a part of several dishes and cuisines from several cultures. Various kinds of shrimp have different tastes depending on the type consumed.

Shrimp may be tasty, but people have concerns over whether raw shrimp can be eaten safely.

Several health professionals advise against eating raw seafood, but raw shrimp is eaten in several cultures.

Sashimi is eaten in Japan, a raw fish delicacy that includes raw shrimp. Baijiu is occasionally eaten in China, which is live shrimp accompanied with a liquor dip.

This can make it confusing to know if raw shrimp is edible, but this interests you, you’re in the right place!

You’ll find out if you can eat raw shrimp in this article, as well as the differences between general raw shrimp and shrimp sashimi.

What Are Shrimps?

What Are Shrimps?

The term ‘shrimp’ covers several species of shellfish, though these are divided into two categories: warm water shrimp and cold water shrimp.

Warm water shrimp tend to be farmed and are collected from tropical locations. Coldwater shrimp are usually smaller and are collected from waters in the north of the US and Canada.

Over 90% of shrimp eaten in the United States come from farming, most of which are brought in from other locations. These include Vietnam, India, and Thailand.

Is Raw Shrimp Safe To Eat?

Raw shrimp is eaten as a delicacy in China, Japan, and Hong Kong, which can be confusing as to whether raw shrimp is edible or not. Despite this, raw shrimp can harbor bacteria and viruses that can harm at-risk humans.

As lots of humans have weaker immune systems and minor health conditions, it’s always better to avoid raw shrimp.

What Happens If You Eat Raw Shrimp

We’ve covered why you should eat raw shrimp, but you may wonder why shrimp sashimi is often popularized.
Sashimi is raw fish, but sushi chefs are aware of the dangers of eating raw seafood.

In the case of raw shrimp sashimi, sushi chefs should ensure that all the parasites within raw shrimp have been killed before serving it.

However, eating raw shrimp still has several risks. To be on the safe side, don’t eat raw shrimp unless you’re completely sure all parasites and bacteria within it have been eliminated.

We’ll cover some of the illnesses that can occur from eating raw shrimp below.

Raw Shrimp And Illnesses

The FDA advises that young children and pregnant women should avoid raw seafood, as they tend to have weaker immune systems than other individuals.

Nevertheless, raw shrimp can have various harmful bacteria within them which can make all humans ill. These illnesses include:

Parasites

All living creatures, including shrimp, can harbor parasites. Parasites need a host body to nourish themselves. They can live in raw or lightly preserved seafood, like sushi, ceviche, and sashimi.

To avoid parasites, restaurants often prepare sushi and sashimi with commercially frozen seafood.

In most cases, seafood should be cooked until it’s inside reaches 145°F. If you do choose to eat raw shrimp, make sure you buy it from a market or restaurant with a stellar safety and cleanliness reputation.

Raw seafood shouldn’t have a rancid, sour, or ammonia-like smell. Cooking spoiled raw seafood can intensify these smells. Never eat cooked or raw seafood that gives off these smells.

Vibriosis

Usually found in sea creatures, vibrio is a marine bacterium that can cause vibriosis. This infection can occur after eating uncooked or raw seafood. It can also occur if raw seafood or its juices touch skin wounds.

Mild vibriosis cases usually resolve themselves in around three days. Despite this, 20% of those with vibriosis can die within a few days of the infection.

Vibriosis symptoms include watery diarrhea, stomach cramps, and fever. Other signs include low blood pressure, swelling, and skin lesions.

Cholera

Cholera causes diarrhea by infecting the intestines. Cholera can spread by drinking water or eating contaminated food. Though less likely, you can do it when you eat undercooked or raw shellfish.

Cholera is caused by Vibrio Cholerae bacteria. These bacteria hold onto shells on shrimp, crabs, and various other shellfish.

Cholera isn’t that common in the United States, but it occurs more in other countries around the world.

Selecting And Preparing Raw Shrimp

Selecting And Preparing Raw Shrimp

You can’t guarantee that the shrimp at the grocery store is fresh, even if you live by the sea. Some frozen seafood will have a ‘previously frozen’ or ‘fresh frozen’ label on it.

If a product is freshly frozen, it will have been frozen soon after it was caught, a few hours after it was collected. On the other hand, previously frozen seafood may not have been fresh when it was frozen.

Frozen seafood can often be nicer in quality than fresh seafood, but never buy frozen shrimp if you notice frost or ice crystals in the package.

When you buy fresh shrimp, make sure that it’s either refrigerated or lying on an ice bed. Most shrimp will have translucent shells with a green or pink tint.

Look out for blackened sides or black spots unless you’re buying Tiger shrimp. Tiger shrimp will have black spots between the shells, but they are the exception.

You can keep the shrimp in your fridge if you’re going to eat it within two days. If not, keep it in the coldest area of your freezer. You can freeze shrimp for up to five months.

Always wash raw shrimp before you start using it. Never let its juices touch other foods. Once you have finished preparing the raw shrimp, wash anything it has touched with soapy, hot water.

This includes your hands, the counter, utensils, chopping board, and the sink.

Serve your seafood on different clean plates. Don’t use the same ones that hold the raw shrimp or seafood.
Monitor the shrimp while you cook it.

If it is cooked from the inside out, it should turn white with a light pink hue. If it isn’t completely opaque and white, it needs to be cooked further.

Conclusion

Raw shrimp may be a part of some delicacies, but there’s always a risk of you becoming ill. Unless you can guarantee that there are no parasites or bacteria within the raw shrimp, it’s always better to avoid eating it.

Remember to be careful when preparing raw shrimp, as it can spread bacteria and parasites to anything it touches. Always wash anything it has come into contact with, and never serve food on plates that have held raw seafood.

Brett White
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