Is It Safe to Eat Raw Shrimp?

Louisiana Sea Grant College Program Louisiana State University/CC-BY 2.0

Shrimp sashimi, or raw shrimp, can be safely consumed under some circumstances, although this is considered to be a high-risk raw food that should be purchased and consumed with great care, according to the Centre for Food Safety. The marine shrimp that are most often used to make shrimp sashimi are susceptible to pathogens and bacteria, including Vibrio cholerae, a bacteria that can cause cholera and other digestive diseases. Those who plan to prepare raw shrimp at home or eat it in a restaurant should be cautious, inspecting the shrimp to make sure it has been kept cold and does not have an unpleasant or spoiled appearance, taste or smell.

Only fresh, clean shrimp that has been kept frozen or stored at temperatures of 39 degrees Fahrenheit or lower should be considered for raw consumption. Those who are preparing frozen shrimp for raw consumption should take care not to elevate the shrimp’s temperature more than a few points above freezing during the defrosting process. Due to the high risk of dangerous food-borne illness that can lead to serious complications, individuals who enjoy eating raw shrimp should only indulge in this food occasionally to reduce overall risk. Those who are in doubt of the quality of their raw shrimp should not consume it without first cooking it.