Can you eat raw fish?

In this article we are going to answer can you eat raw fish, what is fish, what happens if you eat raw fish, if there are health benefits of eating raw fish, and how you can eat raw fish. 

Can you eat raw fish?

Yes, you can eat raw fish. Eating raw fish is a prevalent practice around the world but it comes with some risks. 

The main risk of eating raw fish is food-borne illnesses. A part of the population should avoid eating raw fish such as young children, pregnant women, immune-compromised patients, and the elderly. 

What is a fish?

Fish is an animal that lives in the sea and has no limbs or digits. Most fish are cold blood meaning their temperature can vary depending on the weather or temperature of the water. Fish are very important for the economy because they are consumed as food. 

Fish can be caught in the wild on man-made farms. About one-sixth of the protein consumed by humans comes from fish, especially in China and Japan. Nations that are dependent on the sea have higher proportions of protein consumed by fish. 

The most popular fish that are consumed by humans include cod, anchovy, tuna, flounder, salmon, and herrings. Meat from fish is known as a very healthy source of protein and omega fatty acids, especially in fatty fish. 

What happens if you eat raw fish?

Eating raw fish comes with some risks for your health that you need to be aware of. Raw fish is best consumed when freshly caught and when handled correctly. Some risks of eating raw fish including

  • Parasites
  • Bacteria
  • Pollutants


Raw fish has a higher amount of POPs toxins and mercury. Consuming high amounts of POPs have been linked to cancer and diabetes. Fish that come from man-made farms are commonly higher in POPs. According to a study, cooked fish has about 50% less mercury and POPs than raw fish. 


Fish can contain tapeworms and roundworms. You might run with luck and dont experience symptoms but parasites can steal your nutrients. 

Another common disease caused by eating raw fish is anisakiasis, especially when eating raw fish in Japan. It is caused by a worm known as nematodes and can cause stomach pain, upset stomach, nausea, vomiting, abdominal distention, diarrhea, and fever. 


It is very common that raw fish can have bacteria such as E.coli, Listeria, Vibrio, and Clostridium. Symptoms of food-borne illness with raw fish include vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, stomach cramps, upset stomach, and fever. 

About 10% of imported raw seafood and 3% of domestic raw seafood tested positive for Salmonella. The only way to kill bacteria is to fully cook fish up to 145 F. 

People that are at great risk for foodborne illnesses such as pregnant women, children, older adults, and patients with weakened immune systems should avoid the following

  • Raw or undercooked fish 
  • Raw oysters
  • Refrigerated types of smoked seafood

Are there health benefits to eating raw fish?

Eating raw fish comes with a few benefits such as consuming more nutrients. Cooking fish, especially fried fish or fish cooked at high temperatures can lose some nutrients. 

Fish are very high in protein but it is the same amount of protein in raw fish as in cooked fish. Some vitamins might be lost in the process of cooking fish. Raw fish is especially high in vitamin B.

Raw fish has a higher content of calcium, sodium, potassium, magnesium, and phosphorus. Omega fatty acids are the same as in cooked fish. 

1 ozRaw salmon Cooked salmon
Calories41 40 calories
Carbohydrates0 grams0 grams
Protein 6 grams6 grams
Fat1.7 grams1.22 grams
Cholesterol13 grams15 grams
Calcium10 mg10 mg
Phosphorus75 mg20 mg
Potassium120 mg100 mg
Selenium11 mcg3 mcg

Because there is not much change in raw fish and cooked fish’s nutritional value, the risk of eating raw fish overcomes any possible benefit. 

How can you eat raw fish?

Raw fish can be found in several dishes, especially in Japanese cuisine. Some dishes including

  • Yusheng
  • Poke
  • Tartare
  • Carpaccio
  • Koipla
  • Gravlax

Follow this link for more information on how to select and serve fresh and frozen seafood safely. 


In this article we are going to answer can you eat raw fish, what is fish, what happens if you eat raw fish, if there are health benefits of eating raw fish, and how can you eat raw fish. 


What was missing from this post which could have made it better?

Leave a Comment