Certain types of shrimp, such as those considered to be sushi-grade, are safe to eat raw. However, your standard shrimp that you buy at the supermarket or fishmongers is generally considered not safe to eat raw. This is because raw shrimp brings with it a very high risk of food poisoning.
What is shrimp? It is a crustacean that is consumed and loved all over the world. They have hard, see-through shells and their taste is considered to be sweet, with a firm texture. Shrimp is considered safe to eat raw if you yourself are a healthy individual, and if the shrimp is very fresh. Furthermore, the shrimp you eat needs to have been caught and handled properly, stored appropriately and the correct and proper techniques used to prepare sushi need to be followed.
How do you know if shrimp is fresh?
To be sure that shrimp is fresh you need to pay attention to its look and smell. If the head of the shrimp is starting to go green and has an unpleasant odour, then this is a sure sign that it might be bad. Furthermore, if it’s feeling a bit slimy and the scales are falling off then this also suggests that the shrimp is no longer fresh and needs to be discarded.
Is it safe to eat raw shrimp?
In general, unless adhering to the points above, it is considered unsafe to eat shrimp raw due to the potential risk of infection that it brings. For example, raw shrimp may contain harmful bacteria such as Vibrio, E. Coli and Salmonella.
Salmonella and E. Coli are two bacteria which are the most common causes of food poisoning. They can both bring horrible symptoms including nausea, diarrhoea, fever and abdominal pain. They tend to subside after a couple of days, although in some cases it can be a lot more severe and may require hospital admission.
Read more: Can You Eat Raw Beef?
Vibrio is a bacterium you may not have heard of before, but infection by it can be extremely dangerous. In fact, it has been found that out of a sample of 299 shrimp studied, 55% contained harmful strains of the bacteria Vibrio. That’s over half! So, when you think of it in that context it means that you are statistically speaking more likely than not to get a bacterial infection when eating raw shrimp!
If you get a bacterial infection of Vibrio, this can go one of two ways. It might present like normal food poisoning where you have about three days of fever, vomiting, stomach pains and diarrhoea and then recover. Alternatively, if it somehow makes its way into the bloodstream or gets out of control then it can be much more severe, potentially leading to blistering skin lesions, extremely low blood pressure and even intensive care. Vibrio vulnificus is actually the leading cause of seafood-related deaths in the US. This is why it is strongly advised not to eat raw shrimp unless you can be assured that it is safe and free from harmful bacteria.
Can you eat raw shrimp in ceviche
One way to eat raw shrimp is in a ceviche. This is a dish that is made from a range of raw seafood all of which are marinated in lime and other citrus juices. When prepared properly, eating raw shrimp in the form of this dish is generally considered to be safe.
However, there is still the risk that you could get food poisoning, because if the raw shrimp used isn’t completely fresh or hasn’t been prepared and stored properly, then there may be some of those nasty bacteria residing in it. So, if you do want to eat ceviche make sure you do so from a reliable place. Alternatively, if you want to make your own ceviche then you need to ensure that any raw seafood you use is completely fresh and that you follow any instructions on how to prepare it properly.
What happens if you eat raw shrimp?
If you do eat raw shrimp and start to experience any adverse side effects such as those just mentioned, then it is important that you contact your doctor straight away and stay hydrated.
Can You Eat Raw Shrimp While Pregnant?
It is strongly advised not to eat raw shrimp, or any other raw seafood, whilst you are pregnant. This is because when you are pregnant, your immune system is a lot weaker than normal. Therefore, you are more likely to suffer with worse symptoms of food poisoning when you’re pregnant as your body will be less able to fight off pathogens. Furthermore, there is the risk that you could pick up an infection or illness from it which could get into your bloodstream and not only harm you, but potentially harm your baby as well.
Read more: Can You Eat Raw Salmon?
Is shrimp sushi OK during pregnancy?
In terms of shrimp sushi, this is considered okay for pregnant women to eat in very moderate amounts, and only if they can be assured that the sushi was prepared in a clean environment with the proper techniques used to make it. However, if you are in any doubt then it is best to avoid it.
What happens if you eat raw shrimp while pregnant?
It is also safe to eat cooked shrimp in moderate amounts whilst pregnant, but make sure it is cooked properly so that all the potential bacteria and pathogens that it may contain are destroyed.
If you do eat raw shrimp whilst pregnant, then don’t panic. Drink plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated and contact, or visit, your local doctor as soon as possible.
Can you eat raw shrimp while breastfeeding
In terms of whether you can eat raw shrimp whilst you are breastfeeding, this is perfectly fine in the sense that it’s not going to bring your baby to any harm. You will still be at the risk of picking up bacterial or parasitic infections, however this won’t be transferred through breastmilk, and so your baby will be perfectly safe.
So, there you have everything you need to know about eating raw shrimp. Whilst it is okay to eat raw shrimp in certain forms, such as sushi and ceviche, it is vital that these dishes have been prepared properly and safely. In general, it is recommended to avoid eating raw shrimp and instead eat it in its cooked form to avoid any infection or illness.