What Happens When You Eat Raw Shrimp?


According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, eating raw shrimp should be avoided because it poses a risk for contracting foodborne illnesses or parasites. When choosing to eat raw shrimp, make sure it was previously frozen, which kills harmful parasites that can infect the human body. However, this does not kill harmful microorganisms, and if someone is in a high-risk group for foodborne illness, raw shrimp should always be avoided.

People at high risk for foodborne illness include the elderly, young children, pregnant women, people with decreased immunity and people with low stomach acid, according to the FDA. While shrimp is a healthy alternative to other fish that contain high levels of mercury, it should always be cooked until it is opaque and firm.

Refrigerated smoked shrimp are also considered dangerous for people in a high-risk group due to the shrimp being smoked at a much lower temperature than other cooking methods or simply cured and not cooked, according to the FDA. For people with a healthy immune system, refrigerated smoked shrimp poses much less risk, while canned and shelf-stable smoked shrimp products are considered safe for all people. For the greatest safety, shrimp should be cooked to an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit.