Can You Eat Store Bought Salmon Raw?

Can you eat salmon from the store raw? Many people who enjoy fish have pondered this subject. Yes, but with some very crucial qualifications. It’s critical to take the required procedures to guarantee that raw salmon is safe to consume because it may contain parasites. We’ll go through the dangers of consuming raw salmon in this post, along with the best practices.

Raw Sea-fish steak packaged in plastic vacuum container.

It’s crucial to comprehend what you’re acquiring when buying salmon at the store.

Salmon that is suitable for sushi does not have a defined legal definition, thus it is up to the grocery shop to decide if it is suitable for raw consumption.

Additionally, it’s critical to understand the origins and farming practices of your salmon.

Because it is less likely to have parasites, farm-raised salmon is typically regarded as being safer to consume raw than salmon that has been taken in the wild.

Take the appropriate steps to make sure you aren’t putting yourself at risk if you enjoy eating raw salmon.

This includes purchasing salmon that has already been frozen, which eliminates any potential parasites.

Additionally, it’s critical to handle salmon carefully and enquire about the fish’s quality and source.

You can consume store-bought salmon raw without risk if you take these safety measures.

Understanding Store Bought Salmon

There are a few things you should remember when it comes to consuming raw salmon that you’ve bought from a grocery shop to make sure it’s secure to consume.

A view of several packages of Kirkland Signature farmed salmon filets

Here are some important things to think about:

Sushi Grade

The term “sushi grade” is not a regulated or standardized label, which should be noted right away.

It is up to the grocery shop to determine what fish they deem suitable for sushi, and there is no assurance that their standards will meet your requirements.

Previously Frozen

You should only consume previously frozen raw salmon to reduce the risk of parasites and other dangerous infections.

This is because any parasites that could be present in the fish can be killed by freezing at a low enough temperature, which is typically below -4°F.

Safety Standards

When it comes to selling raw fish, different grocery stores may have varied safety requirements.

Fish handling and storage regulations may be more stringent in some retailers than others.

It’s recommended to err on the side of caution and avoid consuming raw salmon from a certain store if you have any doubts about its safety policies.

Farm-Raised vs. Wild

Whether the salmon is wild or farmed is an additional consideration.

Both varieties of salmon can be consumed raw, however farm-raised salmon is typically seen to be safer due to a lower danger of parasites.

On the other side, wild salmon can be more vulnerable to parasites and other pollutants.

Your Health

Finally, when considering whether to consume raw salmon, it’s crucial to think about your personal health.

You should never consume raw fish if you have a compromised immune system, are pregnant, or are in any other situation where you may be more vulnerable to foodborne infections.

You may decide whether it’s safe to consume store-bought salmon raw by considering these aspects and conducting research.

Risks of Eating Raw Salmon

While salmon served raw is a common delicacy around the globe, it’s crucial to be aware of any potential health dangers.

Man packing salmon fillets into a plastic bag and making preparations

Here are several dangers associated with consuming raw salmon:

1. Bacterial Infections

Salmonella, Vibrio, and Listeria are three dangerous bacteria that can cause foodborne diseases that are present in raw salmon.

These bacteria can produce symptoms like stomach pain, fever, diarrhea, vomiting, and nausea. In extreme situations, they may possibly result in hospitalization or even death.

2. Parasitic Infections

Tapeworms, for example, are parasites that can harm human health and may be present in raw salmon.

These parasites can produce symptoms like diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, and abdominal pain.

Rarely, they may even spread to other organs like the brain or eyes and pose a major threat to one’s health.

3. Mercury Poisoning

Salmon is a species of fish that could have high mercury levels, which can be bad for your health if you eat a lot of it.

Mercury exposure can result in neurological issues such tremors, memory loss, and visual issues.

In fetuses and young toddlers, it may also have an impact on how their brains and nervous systems develop.

4. Allergic Reactions

Salmon or the germs and parasites that it may contain may cause allergies in some people.

A reaction to eating raw salmon may result in symptoms like hives, itching, swelling, and breathing difficulties.

In extreme circumstances, it may even cause anaphylaxis, a potentially fatal allergic reaction.

It’s crucial to remember that not all salmon purchased at stores can be consumed raw.

Only salmon that has been deemed “sushi-grade” or “sashimi-grade,” indicating that it has been frozen to eradicate any potential parasites, should be eaten raw.

It is preferable to fully boil salmon if you are unsure if it is safe to consume it raw in order to lower the chance of contracting a foodborne disease.

Precautions When Eating Raw Salmon

There are a few precautions you should take before eating raw salmon to ensure the safety of the seafood. The following points should be remembered:

Tasty Raw salmon fillet over board

1. Buy from a reputable source

Ensure that the fish you buy comes from a reliable supplier who adheres to high safety standards.

However, keep in mind that the word “sushi grade” is not a legal definition and it is up to the store to decide if anything is acceptable to eat raw.

If you’re buying from a grocery shop, search for salmon that has been labeled as “previously frozen” or “sushi grade.”

2. Check for freshness

Always look for evidence of freshness when purchasing salmon.

The fish shouldn’t be slimy or smell bad; instead, it should have a fresh, ocean-like scent.

The flesh should also be firm and have a vivid, bright hue.

3. Freeze before consuming

Before eating salmon raw, it’s crucial to freeze it to eliminate any potential parasites.

Fish should be frozen at -4°F (-20°C) or lower for at least seven days, according to the FDA.

This will render the fish safe for consumption raw and eliminate any potential parasites.

4. Practice good hygiene

It’s crucial to use good hygiene when handling raw salmon to stop the spread of bacteria.

Use distinct cutting boards and utensils and make sure to fully wash your hands before and after handling the fish to avoid cross-contamination.

5. Be aware of the risks

Even if raw salmon can be consumed without risk if it has been properly handled, frozen, and stored.

Foodborne infections can be brought on by hazardous germs and parasites found in raw seafood.

Additionally, some people, such as pregnant women, young children, and those with compromised immune systems, may be more prone to contracting these diseases.

If you’re wondering whether eating salmon raw is safe, it’s recommended to properly prepare it beforehand.

Safest Ways to Consume Raw Salmon

If you enjoy sashimi or sushi, you might be curious if you can eat raw salmon from the grocery store.

Raw sockeye salmon previously frozen vacuum sealed label sign

The answer is yes, but there are some steps you should take to be sure you’re eating safe fish. Here are some of the most secure methods to eat raw salmon:

Look for Sushi/Sashimi-Grade Salmon

Look for salmon that is marked as “sushi” or “sashimi” grade when purchasing it to consume raw.

This indicates that the fish has undergone specific handling and preparation to make sure it is safe to consume uncooked.

Salmon that is fit for sushi or sashimi is frequently flash-frozen to eradicate any bacteria and parasites that might be present.

Buy Frozen Salmon

Consider purchasing frozen salmon if you are unable to acquire sushi/sashimi-grade salmon or if you are concerned about the quality of the fish at your neighborhood supermarket.

Any parasites that may be present will be eliminated by freezing salmon at a temperature of -4°F for a minimum of 7 days. Salmon can be eaten raw without risk after thawing.

Choose Atlantic Farm-Raised Salmon

Compared to wild-caught salmon, Atlantic farm-raised salmon is usually thought to be safer to consume uncooked.

This is due to the fact that salmon raised in farms are frequently raised in regulated environments where they are less likely to be exposed to bacteria and parasites.

Nevertheless, it’s crucial to make sure the salmon you purchase is of a good caliber and was handled appropriately.

Avoid Salmon with Strong Odors

Use your senses to choose salmon that is fresh and safe to eat when choosing to consume it raw.

Salmon with a strong, fishy smell should be avoided since it may not be fresh or have been handled improperly.

Salmon that is still fresh should smell faintly of the ocean.

Don’t Eat Raw Salmon if You’re High-Risk

It’s advised to stay away from eating raw salmon if you’re expecting, elderly, or have a compromised immune system.

For certain high-risk groups, raw salmon may contain bacteria and parasites that are dangerous.

Consult your doctor if you’re unsure whether it’s okay for you to consume raw salmon.

You can consume store-bought salmon raw in safety if you adhere to these rules.

To guarantee that the fish is safe to eat, always buy high-quality fish and handle it appropriately.

Frequently Asked Questions

Red fish o salmon fillets in vacuum package on wooden background.

Is it safe to eat store-bought salmon raw?

Yes, it is safe to eat store-bought salmon raw if it has been previously frozen. Freezing salmon kills any parasites that may be present in the fish. However, if you’re unsure whether the salmon has been frozen, it’s best to cook it to be on the safe side.

What is sushi-grade salmon?

“Sushi-grade” is a term that is often used to describe salmon that is safe to eat raw. However, it’s important to note that there is no official definition of “sushi-grade” salmon, and the term is not regulated. It’s up to the grocery store to decide whether a particular salmon is safe to eat raw.

How should I store raw salmon?

If you’re not planning on eating your raw salmon right away, you should store it in the refrigerator. Make sure to keep it in a sealed container and eat it within 1 to 2 days. If you’re not planning on eating it within that time frame, you can also freeze it for up to 3 months.

How should I prepare raw salmon?

When preparing raw salmon, it’s important to make sure that it’s clean and free of any bones. You can also marinate it or season it with herbs and spices. Some popular ways to prepare raw salmon include as sashimi, sushi, or ceviche.

Are there any risks associated with eating raw salmon?

While it is safe to eat raw salmon that has been previously frozen, there are some risks associated with eating raw salmon that has not been frozen. Raw salmon may contain parasites, bacteria, and other pathogens that can cause illness. If you have a weakened immune system or are pregnant, it’s best to avoid eating raw salmon.

Top view of piece of raw salmon on blue background.

Key Takeaways

  • Raw salmon can be safe to eat if you take the necessary precautions.
  • Sushi-grade salmon doesn’t have a legal definition, so it’s up to the grocery store to determine whether or not it’s safe to eat raw.
  • To ensure the safety of raw salmon, buy previously frozen salmon and ask questions about the quality and sourcing of the fish.

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Written by Brian Nagele

Brian has over 20 years experience in the restaurant and hospitality industry. As a former restaurant owner, he knows about running a food business and loves to eat and enjoy cocktails on a regular basis. He constantly travels to new cities tasting and reviewing the most popular spots.