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If you’re a fan of seafood, then you probably love shrimp. These curved and heavily veined shellfish are super versatile, pairing wonderfully with various cuisines. And it’s super easy to prepare! But can you eat raw shrimp?

Shrimp are a crustacean consumed around the world. Their tough shells range from brown to grey in colour. Shrimp have a distinct sweet flavour, with a tender and firm texture, depending on the variety. Although shrimp are a popular delicacy in many countries, many people deem them unsafe to eat raw.

Is it Safe to Eat Raw Shrimp?

Raw shrimp can be safe to eat, however you should ensure that they are fresh, properly frozen, and correctly prepared. Eating raw or undercooked shrimp can put your health at risk, because of the bacteria in the shrimp that can potentially lead to food poisoning. Shrimps are a great host for bacteria and viruses, which is why it is unsafe to eat them raw.

What Happens if You Eat Raw Shrimp?

Normally, when you find yourself at a restaurant that serve raw shrimp sushi, the chefs would have ensured that all the harmful parasites inside of the shrimp have been eliminated before serving it to you. However, there are still many hazards in eating raw shrimp, and until the shrimp have been thoroughly cooked and rid of all the bacteria attached to its flesh, it’s still fairly unsafe to consume.

Can You Eat Frozen Shrimp Raw?

Freezing shrimp kills any potential bacteria that could be present in the shrimp, so yes you can eat frozen shrimp raw, or without cooking them first, however, there are a few factors to keep in mind. Firstly, frozen shrimp tend to be tougher and less flavourful than fresh shrimp. If you’re adamant about eating frozen shrimp without cooking them, you should allow them to thaw completely. Place the shrimp in a colander and run cold water over them for a few minutes. Once they have softened rinse them with clean water. Frozen shrimp can be cooked in a variety of ways, including boiling, grilling and frying.

Can You Get Salmonella From Raw Shrimp?

Food poisoning, is a common illness associated with eating bacteria thriving foods like raw shrimp. You may find yourself experiencing queasiness, stomach cramps, fever and diarrhea. Furthermore, a vast majority of food poisoning cases are caused by Salmonella, E.coli, Vibrio or Bacillus, all of which can be found in raw shrimp.

can you eat raw shrimp

Is it Safe to Eat Raw Fish?

Raw fish is the primary ingredient in popular dishes like poke, sushi, and ceviche. Raw or uncooked fish can be a healthful addition to your diet, because they’re packed with high levels of valuable nutrients – free from chemical contaminants. On the other hand, eating raw fish can also become a risk to your health. When you cook fish, the harmful bacteria that had once latched onto the body of the raw fish, are killed due to high temperatures. When you eat raw fish, you’re putting yourself at risk, in contracting a parasitical illness.

What are The Dangers of Eating Raw Shrimp?

The parasites present in raw shrimp are the main cause in food contamination and poisoning, leading to many people feeling very sick. There are more than 70 different types of bacteria thriving in raw shrimp, out of which 12 to 15 have been identified for causing illnesses to those who consume raw shrimp. You can find out about the many potential risks connected to raw shrimp, to feed your curiosity.

How to Know if the Shrimp is Fully Cooked?

To figure out whether your shrimp is properly cooked or not is quite the challenge, especially when you’ve got all this stress related to poisonous parasites attached to the shrimp in your frying pan. Fortunately, we have gathered some key points to help guide and determine whether your shrimp is thoroughly cooked and safe enough to eat. Here are some indicators to help you:

  • Right Temperature
  • Shape of the Shrimp
  • Pinkish Shade

Right Temperature

The shrimp have a specific internal temperature when they’re perfectly cooked, which you can measure with an internal thermometer. The average fully cooked temperature of the shrimp falls around 120 degrees. Depending on the type of shrimp you’re cooking, its internal temperature can vary. For instance, the average inner temperature of the firm textured shrimps can reach as high as 165 degrees.

Shape of the Shrimp

Frozen shrimp are never in a straight shape, and many people straighten them out as much as they can before placing them in a heated pan. When your shrimp are fully cooked, they’ll form a C shape. Whilst cooking the shrimp, you’ll notice it shrinking into a perfect C shape, indicating that it is ready to eat. If your shrimp turns into an O shape, this means that it is overcooked, and it should be removed from the heat as soon as possible otherwise it will become rubbery.

can you eat raw shrimp

Pinkish Shade

One of the clear indicators of finely cooked shrimp is its colour. Perfectly steamed, or boiled shrimp has a pinkish tinge, with a hint of red, and an opaque white shade at the centre. An extremely white shrimp, is an indication that the shrimp has been overcooked. You should remove the shrimp from the heat, and place it into an ice bath, to prevent its tender texture from continuing to cook.

Shrimp Sashimi

Shrimp sashimi, and raw shrimp are considered a delicacy in many parts of the globe. Sometimes live shrimp are peeled, dipped in a sauce and eaten. Furthermore, there is just a single type of shrimp used for shrimp sashimi. some of these include:

  • Sweet shrimp
  • Japanese Tiger prawn
  • Botan shrimp
  • Cherry Blossom shrimp

While these are the common types of shrimp used in shrimp sashimi, many other varieties of shrimp can be used. The overall freshness and preparation matter more, especially since eating the undercooked shrimp that isn’t properly handled can be dangerous.

Is it Bad to Eat Shrimp Sashimi?

Since we’ve highlighted many times, how it is completely unsafe to eat raw shrimp, you’re probably wondering whether eating shrimp sashimi falls in the same category. Fortunately, eating shrimp sashimi isn’t that dangerous, especially if everything is handled properly. In fact the chance of a healthy person getting sick from eating shrimp sashimi is quite slim.

The taste and textures are very profound in shrimp sashimi, with delicious natural flavours being the height of the show. With naturally sweet flavoured shrimp coming through at every bite, and depending on the type of shrimp, you might find other delicious flavours poking through.

That being said, there are a few people that should keep away from shrimp sashimi altogether, and these include:

  • Older adults
  • Pregnant women
  • Young children
  • Anyone with compromised immune systems

Though iterating that consuming shrimp sashimi is fairly harmless, especially when everything is prepared properly. The groups of individuals mentioned above can face additional risks. They can become sick, which may cause an illness that can carry a further risk with potential fatality.

How to Cook Your Shrimp to Perfection?

There are many ways to cook raw shrimp, though none of them include consuming raw shrimp. Here are some of the best ways to cook and eat your shrimp:

  • Grilling
  • Boiling
  • Sautéing

Grilling

If you plan to cook more than one grilled meat dish, do not make the mistake of putting your shrimp alongside other types of meat you want to grill. The reason for this, is that chicken and other types of meat vary in their grilling time, and you wouldn’t want to under or overcook your shrimp by putting them all together. This also goes for grilled vegetables. Cook your shrimp separately, in order to achieve that perfectly cooked consistency.

can you eat raw shrimp

Boiling

Boiled shrimp can be eaten with many dishes. When boiling shrimps at home always ensure that your water has started boiling before you add the shrimp to the water. After the shrimp have been in the boiling water for the time needed according to its type, remove it and place it in icy water to stop the cooking process.

Sautéing

For most of the seafood salads and pasta dishes, boiled or grilled shrimps are not recommended, hence the sautéing process needs a bit of demonstration as well. To sauté the raw shrimp, cook it on heat or medium heat in a pan by changing sides for about 2 minutes. Remove it from the stove and let the shrimp cook completely by the leftover heat from the pan, which is often recognised as the carryover cooking of the shrimp. For sautéing other vegetables for the salad along with the shrimp, don’t put everything in the same pan at the same time. This is because vegetables can break down the shrimp texture through stirring, and there is also a risk of overcooking the shrimp with vegetables.

Types of Raw Shrimps

In this brilliant world, there are around 300 or more species of shrimp. However only a small percentage of those are available in the markets as a food source. Normally, when you go to buy raw shrimps, they are divided into 3 main categories – brown, white and pink – but these aren’t the only kinds of raw shrimps you can find. Let’s take a look at the famous types of raw shrimps.

White Shrimps

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

Brown Shrimps

Brown shrimps have a strong texture, with tough, reddish-brown skin, they lack the sweet taste white shrimps have. Their flavours range from slightly salty to a touch of sweet, depending on the sort of cooking method used. Brown shrimps are commonly served after boiling or steaming. Chefs do not overcook or over steam the brown shrimp so that it maintains its original taste.

Pink Shrimps

Those who enjoy eating raw shrimp in sushi form, have pink or white shrimps, because of their unique and sweet taste. Originally, pink shrimps are found in Florida, but due to their fantastic flavours, you can find them anywhere in the world. Pink shrimps can be categorised as Maine pink shrimps, Oregon pink shrimps, and Gulf pink shrimps. In seafood cuisines, they are widely known as salad shrimps, mainly apt to their tiny size and irresistibly sweet taste.

Spot Shrimps

Spot shrimps or spot prawns are extremely tender and juicy to eat, though they take some time to prepare. This is because they are so hard to clean, with their fragile shells that could potentially break easily. Spot shrimps are generally used in sushi, so they can be eaten raw.

Rock Shrimps

Due to their excessively hard shells, rock shrimps weren’t considered edible for a long time. However, you will find rock shrimps in almost all seafood restaurant. They have high contents of protein and possess a rich, sweet flavour, but should always be thoroughly cooked before eating.

Can You Eat Raw Meat?

Eating raw meat is essential for most peoples diet, including dishes like kibbe, carpaccio and raw liver. However, eating raw meat can potentially harm your body, as it may contain harmful bacteria which can include, Salmonella, Listeria, Campylobacter, and E.coli which cause food poisoning. Cooking the meat destroys these bacteria.

So is it Safe to Eat Raw Shrimp?

Depending on the type of shrimp you plan to eat, its always important that the shrimp is thoroughly cleaned, and well prepared before eaten raw. With only a small collection of shrimp can be eaten raw, the rest can be boiled, grilled or sautéed before eating.