In this brief guide, we will answer the question “Can you eat salmon raw?” and discuss ways to properly handle and prepare salmon when it is raw. We will also list down the type of people who should avoid eating raw salmon. We will also discuss whether it is safe to eat undercooked salmon or not.
Can you eat salmon raw?
Yes, you can eat salmon raw only if it has been properly handled and prepared. Salmon provides a lot of health benefits and is one of the most popular foods worldwide. It is usually eaten raw in the form of sushi or sashimi.
However, as delicious as it is, salmon can contain a lot of bacteria, parasites and environmental contaminants. Since it is not cooked and not exposed to high temperatures, the bacteria would not get killed so there is a risk of infection.
Similarly, salmon is known to have parasites caused by helminths. These are worms similar in appearance to tapeworms. They grow in the intestines and cause symptoms like diarrhea, weight loss and sometimes anemia.
Salmon also contains the bacteria Salmonella which can lead to food poisoning or typhoid. The quality of fish also determines whether it is safe to eat or not.
Sometimes, cross-contamination can also pose health risks. This can happen if the raw salmon is not handled properly. The area where it is placed and the knives used to slice it should be sanitized first.
How to properly prepare raw salmon?
The key to safely eating raw salmon is by properly handling it. There is an ongoing debate about whether the salmon should be washed or not before preparing it. Nonetheless, washing does not ensure the removal of bacteria or even parasites.
In fact, washing can lead to cross-contamination from the surface or unsanitized hands so if you do choose to wash, be very careful with it.
Another way to ensure safety is by blast-freezing the salmon. Blast-freezing refers to freezing the fish at a temperature between -30 to -40 degrees. Parasites can not survive on such low temperatures.
Normally, the freezers that we have at our houses do not have such a low temperature setting. This is usually done commercially.
If you are preparing the salmon at home, then make sure it is properly refrigerated. It should be vacuum sealed or kept in an airtight container. Do not take it out until you are ready to serve it. This is because bacteria tends to grow at room temperature.
Before slicing it, make sure your hands, knives and the working station are properly cleaned and sanitized so that the risk of cross-contamination is lowered.
Who should not eat raw salmon?
Since there is a risk involved with eating raw salmon, certain people should avoid it. Even when it is safely prepared and handled, it is better to be safe than sorry. People with weakened immune systems such as those who are suffering from HIV/AIDS should not eat it. The following people should avoid eating raw salmon:
- Pregnant women
- Older people
- People with weakened immune systems
- Young children
Find out the health benefits of eating salmon here.
Can you eat undercooked salmon?
No, you should not eat undercooked salmon. You should either eat blast-frozen raw salmon or properly cooked salmon.
This is because undercooked salmon does not reach a higher temperature which is required to kill most of the bacteria. Temperatures between 40 and 140 degrees are a breeding ground for bacteria.
When salmon is properly cooked, it reaches a temperature high enough to get rid of the microbes. On the other hand, sushi-grade salmon is usually blast frozen which also makes it safe for consumption.
In this brief guide, we answered the question “Can you eat salmon raw?” and discussed ways to properly handle and prepare salmon when it is raw. We also listed down the type of people who should avoid eating raw salmon. We also discussed whether it is safe to eat undercooked salmon or not.