When talking about sushi, most people will instantly think of a white and shiny piece of raw fish like tuna or salmon served with a layer of rice. But sushi is not just raw fish, you will find a wide range of other delicious seafood in typical sushi restaurants. One such dish is shrimp sushi, which is a classy delicacy served raw in most countries like Hong Kong and Japan. But the one question that is on everybody’s mind is that, can you eat raw shrimp? Although in a few cultures, raw shrimp is preferred and savored, most people have concerns about it containing viruses and causing food poisoning. So if you too are wondering can you eat raw shrimp, then read ahead as we break down the science behind eating raw shrimp so that your question “can you eat raw shrimp?” has a logical answer.

Can You Eat Raw Shrimp?

Let’s get straight into answering your question “can you eat raw shrimp?”. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, there is not much risk in eating raw shrimp if you are a completely healthy individual. But since most of us have some kind of minor health-related issues or compromised immunity, it is not advisable to eat raw shrimp.

can you eat raw shrimp

In many regions of the world, like China, Hong Kong, and Japan, the fluid inside of the head of shrimp is consumed as an expensive delicacy. Still, there are many viruses and bacteria present in raw shrimp that can be harmful to many high-risk individuals, unless it has been cooked perfectly. So all of those contemplating can you eat raw shrimp, the answer is no, unless you are extremely healthy, which is rare.

However, when you ask a professional chef “can you eat raw shrimp?”, you would almost certainly get an answer that it depends. Professional chefs understand the risk associated with eating raw shrimps and therefore take their time in preparing the shrimp the right way. You will also find out that these chefs purchase their seafood from authentic and fresh sources where the chances of bacteria and viruses are minimum.

What Happens If You Eat Raw Shrimp?

Now that you’ve gotten your answer to “can you eat raw shrimp?”, let’s look at the possible situations you can find yourself in if you were to eat raw shrimp. Normally, sushi chefs that make raw shrimp sushi ensure that all the parasites inside of the shrimp have been killed before serving it to you, but still there are many hazards in eating raw shrimp. Many people ask; can you eat raw shrimp, and the best answer is no unless it has been rid of all the illness-causing agents like parasites and bacteria.

The Dangers Of Eating Raw Shrimp

Every other person in the US experiences food poisoning quite frequently due to many reasons, one of those reasons can be eating raw shrimp. The parasites present in the shrimp that is eaten raw can cause massive food contamination and food poisoning.

Raw Shrimp Holds Harmful Bacteria

There are more than 70 different types of bacteria present in raw shrimp out of which 12-15 are commonly identified for inducing illnesses in humans. Vibrio is one of the bacteria found in raw shrimp that makes people sick.

According to a study on a sample of 300 raw shrimps, more than 50% of them had this dangerous bacterium called Vibrio. This not only causes multiple infections and diseases but also is unaffected by antibiotics. Another study indicated that the raw shrimp available from the seafood plants contain Bacillus which leads to gastrointestinal malfunctions. So if anyone asks, can you eat raw shrimp, ask them to check the long list of parasites in shrimps and they will have their answer.

Raw Shrimp Causes Food Positioning And Illness

After you get to know about the parasites and viruses existing in the raw shrimp, you would no longer inquire; can you eat raw shrimp. Vibrio bacterium present in the raw shrimp causes diseases such as cholera and gastritis, whereas Bacillus is responsible for gastrointestinal infections and severe food poisoning in high-risk individuals.

Another life-threatening and contagious condition called norovirus is related to the consumption of raw shrimp. Consuming bacteria containing food is the biggest reason for illnesses like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and fever, all of which can eventually lead to food contamination. In the US, there are around one million food intoxication cases per year, out of which 5000 do not survive. After learning about that statistics, we doubt anyone would be asking the question “can you eat raw shrimp?” after this.

Raw Shrimp Can Be Life-Threatening For High-Risk Groups

The high-risk groups for the illnesses caused by raw shrimp consist of pregnant women, people with pre-existing injuries and illnesses,  young children, babies, and elderly people. All of these groups have weakened or developing immune systems, that can easily be damaged by eating bacteria-laden raw shrimp. Their compromised ability to fight off the viruses and bacteria in the raw shrimp makes them more prone to illness.

In many instances, the conditions aggravate and become life-threatening just because of ingesting some raw shrimp in sushi or other forms. If you are a pregnant woman or an older adult looking for the answer to the question; can you eat raw shrimp, it is an absolute no for you. Although fish and seafood like crabs and shrimps are full of necessary nutrients for these groups, they should never be consumed raw.

Buying And Storing Raw Shrimp

When you know the dangers of raw seafood, your mind stops asking, can you eat raw shrimp. But to eliminate the risks of food contamination through raw shrimp, you must know the right way of selecting and storing your raw shrimp. There are so many things that should be considered when choosing the healthiest raw shrimp, such as:

Varieties

First of all, when you go to a market to buy raw shrimp, you must have a clear idea of the purpose of the shrimp, because specific varieties of shrimps have diverse food uses. Such as the white and pink shrimps are mostly used for making sushi and spot shrimps are commonly used for making cocktails and salads.  Most people get an idea of what they want by the color of the shrimps. Some of the famous ones include pink, white, brown, and white. If you are out there buying tiger shrimps, the first thing you need to make sure of is that they have dark tiger-like stripes on their shells.

Size

Those who are regular buyers of shrimps know that they are usually sold in terms of size or the count of the shrimps. How many shrimps you need for a dish depends entirely on your selection of the shrimp size, the smaller the shrimps, the higher the count.

Normally, one or a half-pound measures are used for smaller and medium shrimps. In each pound, the number of shrimps you take home varies according to the size. On average, in one pound there are about a hundred mini shrimps, 45 small, 30 large, 17 extra-large, 12 jumbo, or less than 10 colossal shrimps.

Selection

Shrimps are available in different forms, from frozen to fresh and farmed to wild shrimps. Frozen shrimps are put into commercial freezers as soon as they are caught and can be used after months unless defrosted. Fresh shrimp markets have shrimps that have been caught recently but have only been refrigerated for a couple of days.

Choosing between frozen and fresh shrimps depends on your cooking needs. For immediate usage, we suggest you buy fresh shrimps instead of frozen ones. Farmed and wild shrimps have a big label on them indicating which are which. But in many cases, people have difficulty cooking the shrimps that have been wrongly labeled as farmed when in fact they were wild shrimps. So be careful where you buy your shrimps from.

Storage

You can buy frozen shrimp and directly store it for months or buy fresh shrimps and store them freezing. Both are fine to eat as long as they are fully cooked, so all the folks inquiring can you eat raw shrimp have their answer. Cooked shrimp can also be frozen but the flavor will fade away with time and you won’t be able to enjoy it properly.

For the storage, it’s up to you whether you want to freeze shrimps with or without their shells, but cutting off the heads of the shrimps is necessary before storing them. Frozen shrimps can be used within five to six months, however, you should not eat cooked frozen shrimps after a month or two. Even if you plan on cooking your newly bought shrimps within days, store them in the refrigerator to prevent the growth of bacteria and viruses in them.

Can You Eat Raw Shrimp: How to Prepare Shrimps Safely

For anyone wondering can you eat raw shrimp, you cannot because it causes food poisoning and infections in the body, which is why cooking shrimp perfectly is crucial. There are certain ways of cooking shrimp that make them completely safe to eat. For the safe preparation of the shrimp, it is advised to buy safe and healthy raw shrimp from the market. Fresh shrimp can be frozen for months but the shrimp that has been refrigerated and used within four days has the most delicious taste after cooking.

How to Prepare Shrimps Safely

To prepare shrimp safely, wash it properly to remove any dirt or worms on it and make sure other food items are not in direct contact with the shrimp to avoid food contamination. While washing removes the apparent harmful agents on the shrimp it never kills the parasites present in the raw fish.

The only way to fully rid your shrimp of the bacteria is to cook or boil it thoroughly. For the best taste and safe eating, cook the shrimp at a temperature of 145 degrees F, until it has turned pinkish in shade.

The fully cooked shrimp should have a cracked or opened shell, but even after the shell is opened, you should keep on boiling for a few minutes as a safety precaution. Never cook a shrimp that has an opened shell because it is often contaminated with external parasites and cooking won’t even remove them.

Some people cook shrimp by removing its shell after buying it, the indicator for the right time for cooking such a shrimp is the opaque color and firm texture. If you react to eating a boiled or steamed shrimp, contact a medical advisor as soon as possible.

Can You Eat Raw Shrimp: How to Know if The Shrimp Is Fully Cooked Or Not

Sorting out whether a shrimp is prepared perfectly or not is complex, and many people get stressed when cooking the shrimp because of all the negative consequences of eating raw shrimp. But fortunately for you, we have gathered some key points that determine when the shrimp is fully cooked. Here are some of the indicators to help you determine whether or not a shrimp is fully cooked.

Indicators To Determine Whether Or Not Your Shrimp Is Cooked

The Right Temperature

The shrimp has a specific internal temperature after being perfectly cooked which you can measure using a thermometer. The average fully cooked temperature of the shrimp falls around 120 degrees F. Depending on the type of shrimp you are cooking, the average internal temperature can vary, for instance, the median inner temperature of the firm-textured shrimps is as high as 165 degrees F.

The Shape Of The Shrimp

The frozen shrimp is never in a straight shape, many people straighten them out using a bit of pressure before putting them on heat. The right indicator for the fully cooked shrimp is the C shape. As you cook the shrimp, you will notice the frozen shrimp turning into a curved shape and eventually into a perfect C, which is your cue to eat that delicious shrimp.

If you notice your shrimp turned into an O shape, that means it has been overcooked, needs to be removed from the heat as soon as possible otherwise it’ll become rubbery.

The Pinkish Shade

One of the apparent indicators of the finely cooked shrimp is its color. The perfectly steamed, or boiled shrimp has a pinkish color with a hint of red at the corners and an opaque white shade in the middle. The confusing part begins when the shrimp is changing colors into pink and white, you should keep in mind that the overly white color of the shrimp occurs when it has been overcooked. Experts suggest putting your shrimp into an ice bath after removing it from heat because the tender texture keeps on cooking for some time even without heat.

Instructions For Cooking Shrimp Perfectly

There are several ways of preparing a shrimp neither of which includes serving and consuming raw shrimp so, the answer to the question, can you eat raw shrimp becomes pretty clear. We have listed some important instructions for some of the mainstream ways of cooking the shrimp which include boiling, sauteing, steaming, and grilling.

Grilling

If you are having a party at home and plan on serving lots of grilled dishes, do not make the mistake of putting the shrimps and other forms of meat on the same grill. The reason is that chicken and other meats vary in their grilling time, and you don’t want to over or undercook your shrimp by putting them all together. The same is the case with mushrooms and vegetables, serving undercooked broccoli with overcooked shrimps will be a great nuisance for you and your guests.

Boiling

Boiled shrimp can be eaten with many dishes as well as in the seafood cocktail. For boiling shrimps at home, always make sure your water has started boiling before putting the shrimp in the water. After the shrimp has been in the water for the respective time according to its type, take it out and soak it in icy water to stop the cooking process.

For poached shrimp which are served in many seafood restaurants, the shrimps are not entirely boiled but added into a hot liquid for a couple of minutes. For the soups, there is no need to boil the shrimp separately, instead, raw shrimp is added to the soup at its final stages and removed before it reaches its median internal temperature. The reason for doing so is because the heat of the soup takes the shrimp to its optimal temperature after it has been removed from the heat.

Sauteing

For most of the seafood salads and pasta dishes, boiled or grilled shrimps are not recommended, hence the sauteing process needs a bit of demonstration as well. To saute the raw shrimp, cook it on heat or medium heat in a pan by changing sides for about one to two minutes. Remove it from the stove and let the shrimp cook fully by the remaining heat of the pan, which is often recognized as the carryover cooking of the shrimp.

For sauteing other vegetables for the salad along with the shrimp, do not put everything in the same pan at the same time. The vegetables can break down the shrimp texture by stirring and there is also a risk of overcooking the shrimp with vegetables.

Different Kinds Of Raw Shrimps

Before we conclude this topic on can you eat raw shrimps, let’s look at some of the different kinds of raw shrimps.

Different Kinds Of Raw Shrimps

In this beautiful world, there are around 300 or more species of shrimps, but did you know that only a small percentage of all those kinds are available in the markets as a food source. Usually, when you go to buy raw shrimps, they are divided into three major categories; brown, white, and pink. But these are not the only kinds of raw shrimps there are. Let’s check out the famous types of shrimps.

White Shrimps

White shrimps have a sweeter and tender texture and come from some regions of Thailand, Latin America, and China. White shrimps are best served boiled, grilled, baked, fried, steamed, or stuffed. They are as long as 8 inches, have a firm texture, and are easy to clean, making them a preferred shrimp type by famous chefs. White shrimps are typically sold in three major varieties; pacific white shrimps, gulf white shrimps, and Chinese white shrimps.

Brown Shrimps

With hard reddish-brown skin, brown shrimps have a strong texture but lack the sweet taste white shrimps have. Their flavors range from slightly salty to somewhat sweet, depending on the sort and the cooking method used. For brown shrimp if you are still not sure, can you eat raw shrimp or not, you should know that it is served after boiling or steaming. Chefs make sure not to overcook or over steam the brown shrimp to maintain its original natural taste.

Pink Shrimps

Usually, raw shrimp eaters in sushi have pink or white shrimps because of their unique sweet taste. Originally, pink shrimps are found in Florida but due to their enjoyable taste, you can find them anywhere in the US. Pink shrimps can be found as Maine pink shrimps, Oregon pink shrimps, and Gulf pink shrimps. In seafood cuisines, they are widely known as salad shrimps owing to their tiny size and mildly sweet taste.

Spot Shrimps

Spot shrimps are also called spot prawns in regions like Europe and Australia, whereas, they are termed Lobster of Alaska in the US due to their resemblance in their shape. Spot shrimps are extremely tender and juicy to eat but they take time to prepare. That’s because they are hard to clean with their delicate shells that are easily broken. For all those who are still wondering, can you eat raw shrimp, you can eat this type of shrimp raw because spot shrimps are generally used for sushi.

Rock Shrimps

Growing in the deep waters of the cold Atlantic oceans, rock shrimps weren’t edible as long as the 1950s because of their extremely firm shells. In the old days, rock shrimps were thrown back into the water as they were considered useless. But after the 1960s a machine was introduced for their shells which worked wonders. Now you will find rock shrimps in almost all seafood restaurants in the US. They have high contents of protein and possess a rich sweet taste but they should always be thoroughly cooked before ingesting, especially for high-risk individuals.

Tiger Shrimps

With a typical oceanic flavor, tiger shrimps come from the continents of Asia and Africa. These shrimps can be accessible to you as farmed shrimps as well as fresh, depending on your need and availability.

With tiger stripes on their shell, these shrimps have a strong texture and grow up to 12 inches. It is best to eat them properly cooked, steamed, or boiled to get rid of all the parasites. In Asia, you will find tiger shrimps in the frozen section of every grocery store.

So it is safe to say that the answer to the question; can you eat raw shrimp is no, in maximum cases and rarely yes, and that too with certain precautions and measures.

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