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Shrimp is considered a delicacy in many parts of the world while in Asia, the seafood continent, shrimps are a part of life. You will find all sorts of crustaceans and sea critters in this part of the world that you never thought existed. Yes, we’re talking about all those alien-looking sea creatures like isopods and more. That being said, among all these, the most consumed seafood are shrimps. The westerners slowly started taking a liking to these delicious succulent white meat and now you can find shrimps all over the world. Shrimps are used in sushi which gives rise to the question that many have on their minds, “can you eat shrimp raw?”.
Sushi isn’t the only dish where shrimps are used raw. Many consume it in a shrimp cocktail or have it with a tangy spicy sauce. Can you eat shrimp raw with sauce then? Let’s look at the science behind the answer to the question can you eat shrimp raw.
Can You Eat Shrimp Raw: Is Raw Shrimp Safe To Consume?
Shrimps are full of nutrients that many believe only exist if they are consumed raw. The liquid inside the head of the shrimp is considered to be the most nutritious and is slurped down in many parts of the globe. You may have also seen Japanese master chefs carefully preparing shrimps for sashimi. If people are consuming raw shrimp, then the doubts that many have regarding can you eat shrimp raw is no more. However, we are here to tell you that this is not the case.
It is important not to come to conclusions when seeing people eat raw shrimps. In most cases, the shrimps are boiled or steamed and are not raw. But why is that the case? Unlike fishes, the science behind the answer to the question “can you eat shrimp raw?” is pretty clear and understandable.
When eating sashimi many forget that it is a high-risk food just like shrimps. If you were to overeat you might easily get sick. Stomach troubles and food poisoning are some of the common effects of eating too much sashimi.
Shrimps contain harmful bacteria which if not cleaned properly can lead to illnesses. A study was conducted on a sample of 300 shrimps to find out the answer to can you eat shrimp raw. However, upon completion of the study, it was found that more than half of the shrimps contain harmful bacteria like Vibrio which leads to problems associated with the stomach such as gastritis and more.
The thing that makes the shrimp a high-risk food item is a fact that there are different species of Vibrio and most of these are immune to antibiotic doses. This makes it very difficult for a human to recover if they have a weak immune system. The FDA and other US departments have also labeled shrimps as dangerous and many have taken action on companies producing frozen food items that were contaminated with Vibrio.
In short, can you eat shrimp raw? Not really. You can eat shrimp raw if it were prepared properly by deveining and cleaning under running water to wash away the germs and bacteria that may be found. The question shouldn’t be can you eat shrimp raw but it needs to be rephrased to should you be eating raw shrimps? Once again, when there are a lot of risks associated with eating shrimps raw, a logical person should avoid eating raw shrimps.
Can You Eat Shrimp Raw: Illnesses Associated With Raw Shrimp?
We’ve already given you our take on can you eat shrimp raw by giving information on the harmful bacteria that can be found in these sea crawlers. Let’s look at this in a bit more detail so that you’re able to understand it better.
Almost 17% of Americans go through food poisoning each year at least once. Out of this, 5,000 people die annually due to complications from severe food poisoning in the United States. Many believe that home remedies to cure stomach troubles are the best way to cure it, however, when stomach troubles are caused by food poisoning the chances of death increase. Extreme cases of food poisoning can cause dehydration and in extreme cases death.
Besides Vibrio, other bacteria can be found in shrimps which can affect your health if you consume shrimps raw. Shrimps caught in Nigeria were found to harbor Bacillus which leads to diarrhea and vomiting. Salmonella is also found in shrimps. There are many different deadly bacteria found in raw shrimps but one thing is common among these studies.
Shrimp caught from different regions have different bacteria. So, the percentage of food poisoning can go up and down depending on where the shrimp is farmed or caught. So, the question right now shouldn’t be can you eat shrimp raw but after reading this but should you take the risk of consuming raw shrimps?
Another cause of concern is immunity. Those with strong levels of immunity can defeat these bacteria that enter the body through the consumption of raw shrimp. However, people with weak immunity may find themselves vulnerable to bacteria and can get sick. In extreme cases, sickness can even lead to death.
Pregnant women, children, and the elderly have weak immunity and therefore it is advised that these groups of people do not consume or eat raw shrimp. This can lead to many different medical complications.
Now that you know the answer to can you eat shrimp raw is a no in many cases, let’s look at can you eat shrimp raw with sauce.
Can You Eat Shrimp Raw With Sauce?
If you’re still adamant about eating shrimp raw like many people do because of its fresh taste and juicy meat, you need to make sure that the shrimp is prepared properly. Many chefs clean the raw shrimps properly under running water to wash away any dirt and surface bacteria that may be present. They also source the shrimps from a clean water source to ensure minimal bacteria. Chefs even choose to make a sauce that goes well with the shrimps or marination to kill whatever bacteria it might harbor.
Sauces made from strong alcoholic content used to marinate the shrimps with, kill most of the bacteria present. Alcohol is a great way to make your shrimps less risky. Chefs also tend to use acidic marination to do away with some bacteria but that does not kill 100% of the bacteria. However, it does minimize the risk posed by the consumption of raw shrimps. Blast freezing your shrimps is a great way to eliminate bacteria, however, you would need to consume the shrimp immediately after thawing as once thawed the shrimp becomes a ground for bacteria to feed on.
Let us show you a great recipe if you’re looking to consume raw shrimps as a delicacy.
Raw Shrimp Ceviche Recipe
Are you one of those that have gone past the question “can you eat shrimp raw?” and want to eat it even though you know the risk it poses? We’ve got a great recipe for you. Raw shrimp ceviche is an ancient traditional way of “cooking” shrimp whereby the risks associated with eating raw shrimps are minimized.
Ceviche is made with marinating raw shrimps in an acidic concoction that would “cook” the shrimp and minimize the bacteria in it. However, our version of the ceviche further reduces any risk posed by the consumption of raw shrimps. We refrigerate our ceviche to cook it as much as possible. Let’s look at some of the ingredients that you will be requiring to make your raw shrimp ceviche at home.
- A cup of fresh lime juice.
- A cup of cucumber finely chopped.
- A cup of tomatoes finely chopped.
- A quarter of a cup of red onions chopped.
- One medium-sized jalapeno cut and deseeded.
- Three tablespoons of chopped olives. Prepare the olives by taking the pit out.
- Half a cup of fresh cilantro finely chopped
- Salt as required
Traditional ceviche is a mixture of shrimp with all the ingredients. So here is how you do it. Peel and thoroughly wash your raw shrimps. Ensure that you remove the vein on the back of the shrimp. You would need one pound of fresh shrimps for this dish.
Once you have prepared your shrimps for the dish, cut them into thin slices. This is a great way to ensure that most of the bacteria are eliminated. Get your shrimp slices into a bowl and add half a cup of zesty lime juice. Cover the bowl with a plate or a cling film and refrigerate for about twenty minutes. This marination of lime and refrigeration is one of the ways of “cooking” shrimp for all those who want to consume raw shrimps.
Once the shrimps turn pink, take it out immediately and discard all the lime juice. Now mix the shrimp in a bowl with all the chopped vegetables to give the dish a texture and some flavors. Add salt to taste but you can also try adding pepper to give it a bit of a kick. This is a great summer dish and one of the safest dishes if you wish to consume raw fish. Although the refrigeration and acid (lime juice) help break down the shrimp and kill bacteria, it is never 100% bacteria-free unless you cook it by boiling, steaming, or grilling the shrimps.
A great way to step up your raw shrimp ceviche is by adding cubes of pineapple or mangoes to it to compliment the acidity.
Tips To Follow To Avoid Getting Sick by Consuming Raw Shrimps
Here are some tips that you should follow if you’re going to go ahead with consuming raw shrimps.
- If you’re looking to make shrimp sashimi, know your seafood dealer. Getting seafood from market stalls to make sashimi poses a health concern as you don’t know where the shrimps are coming from. Having a reputable seafood dealer to provide you fresh seafood is a great way to ensure that your shrimps are high quality and can be consumed raw if prepared properly.
- Do not eat at any restaurant that serves sashimi without having a license for it. FEHD license or food and environmental hygiene department license state that the establishment follows the proper protocols to curate the safest possible sashimi. Any restaurant that does not have this license posted at their entrance for their consumers to see should be avoided at all costs.
- Raw shrimps or any food for that matter if left at room temperature becomes a breeding ground for all sorts of bacteria. This is why restaurants blast freezes raw shrimps or refrigerate them. Whenever you order raw shrimps at a restaurant, touch them first. If the raw shrimps are not cold that means it has not been refrigerated but left at room temperature. This is unsafe and should be avoided at all costs.
- There are health risks associated with overeating. Too much salt can cause your blood pressure to rise. In this case, although a properly prepared raw shrimp dish has minimum bacteria, having too much of it increases the risk of getting sick. Avoid eating too raw shrimps or sashimi.
- Weak immunity people should avoid consumption of raw fish or raw shrimps in general. As mentioned earlier, pregnant women, children, and the elderly should refrain from consuming raw fish in any form. Prevention is always better than cure.
- If you feel sick after consuming raw shrimps, seek medical treatment immediately. Delaying a visit to the doctor can cause complications and lead to severe food poisoning.
Eating raw shrimps boils down to your preference. Of course, there are health concerns but many countries in Asia consider raw shrimps a delicacy. If you want to enjoy this delicacy, make sure that the shrimp is prepared properly and washed thoroughly. Be ready for the consequences of eating raw shrimps as you never know which one can cause an illness. Shrimps are a good source of nutrients and we recommend consuming them by cooking them properly. They not only taste good but proper cooking can reduce the fishy smell associated with raw shrimps.