Can you eat raw shrimp?

In this brief article, we will answer the question, “Can you eat raw shrimp?” and provide information on the side effects of consuming raw shrimp, who should not eat raw shrimp, how can shrimp be made safer as well as whether shrimp needs to be cooked.

Can you eat raw shrimp?

No, you cannot eat raw shrimp. Raw shrimp is widely consumed in Japan and China though it is not safe to eat them. Sashimi is prepared from raw shrimp in Japan whereas, in China, the shrimp would be soaked in liquor and then eaten.

However, this does not mean that shrimp is very safe to consume. Shrimp contains parasites, bacteria, and viruses. This can increase the food poisoning risk.

Shrimp is a good source of many nutrients. However, the harmful viruses in shrimp can be destroyed only through the cooking process.

What are the side effects of consuming raw shrimp?

Raw shrimp contains harmful bacteria. Vibrio is one kind of bacteria found in raw shrimp. There are many species of Vibrio present.

Some species of Vibrio are known to cause infections, cholera, or gastritis. Many species of vibrio are resistant to antibiotics as well. 

Bacillus is another kind of bacteria found in shrimp that can be dangerous. Bacillus has been associated with vomiting and diarrhea.

Consumption of raw shrimp can even lead to food poisoning. Some of the symptoms of food poisoning are vomiting, fever, diarrhea, and stomach pain.

Can you get Norovirus after eating raw shrimp?

Yes, Norovirus is a disease that can be associated with eating raw shrimp. It is contagious in nature. The main symptoms of Norovirus would include vomiting coupled with diarrhea. Fever, body ache, and dehydration might be observed too.

Who should not consume raw shrimp?

An Individual with a weak immune system should not eat raw shrimp. Older adults and people suffering from chronic diseases should not eat raw shrimp either.

Pregnant women and young children also have a high chance of suffering from food poisoning. Hence, they should avoid eating raw shrimp too.

People suffering from shrimp allergy are advised to not consume shrimp. The triggering factor behind this allergy would be some compounds like tropomyosin, hemocyanin, and arginine kinase.

Symptoms of shrimp allergy are a tingling feeling in the neck region, breathing issues, skin rashes, and digestive problems. Anaphylaxis, unconsciousness, and death can be some severe reactions associated with excess shrimp consumption.

How can you make shrimp safe to eat?

Cooking can make shrimp comparatively safe to eat. Proper storage, transport, and handling techniques can prevent the contamination of shrimp. 

If you have newly bought shrimp from the market, keep them immediately in the freezer. In the fridge, shrimp can last for 3-4 days. In the freezer, it can remain for 4-5 months.

If shrimp has been kept in the freezer, thawing it in an appropriate manner is essential to prevent contamination.

Shrimp can be thawed by keeping it inside a fridge overnight. This can reduce the growth of harmful bacteria.

Before cooking the shrimp, wash it thoroughly under water. This can also help in reducing cross-contamination between shrimp and other foods too.

Should shrimp be cooked?

Yes, shrimp needs to be cooked to eliminate the chance of food poisoning. You can do this by cooking the shrimp till the temperature reaches 145 degrees Fahrenheit. This can destroy the viruses and bacteria present in the shrimp.

Why should you prefer wild-caught shrimp over farm-raised ones?

Shrimps that have been caught in the wild are safer to eat. Farm-raised shrimps are often treated with antibiotics.

Antibiotics are added to shrimps as they have an increased risk of developing diseases. Most of these imported shrimps are treated with antibiotics. 

The Food and Drug Administration does inspect shrimps for antibiotics. However, as a high amount of imports come from other countries, it can be difficult to check for antibiotics in every batch.

Eating shrimp containing antibiotics can lead to antibiotic resistance. Hence, go for wild-caught shrimps.

What tips need to be kept in mind while buying shrimp?

Do not consume shrimp that are rotting or appear to be contaminated. Do not buy shrimps from unclean areas or places infested with too many flies.

Shrimp flesh should be firm. The color of shrimp shells can range from light pink to grayish-green color. Do not go for shrimps that have black spots on them. 

Do not buy shrimp that have a strong ammonia-like odor. Shrimps inherently should have a salty smell.


In this brief article, we have answered the question, “Can you eat raw shrimp?” and provided information on the side effects of consuming raw shrimp, who should not eat raw shrimp, how can shrimp be made safer as well as whether shrimp needs to be cooked.


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