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Dangers of Eating Raw Fish, Facts Revealed!

Do you know why poke, sushi and sushimi are sometimes dangerous to eat?  Because, they are made with raw or cured fish. Do you know about the dangers of eating raw fish? They have a lot of bacteria and parasites that are harmful for humans.

Most of the famous seafood restaurant put a warning on their menu about particular dishes. Why so?

The reason is that they are not cooked which means any parasites or pollutants in raw fish can enter your body. The ocean is a parasite playground. Raw fish dishes contain a lot of parasites and bacteria. These parasites can enter your body and may harm you.

Apart from that, there are many other harms of eating raw fish. The article will reveal the important facts that you should know before eating raw seafood.

Table of Content

Dangers of Eating Raw Fish

Raw fish such as sushi and other uncooked seafood may be very appealing to the taste buds but sometimes it is not good for human health. Here are the common dangers of eating raw fish.


Parasitic Infections

In Western countries, the illness caused by nematode worms present in raw fish is increasing day by day. These worms are the main cause of parasitic Infections.

According to a study, Anisakiasis results from eating raw fish contaminated with anisakid nematodes. When the worm enters the stomach or intestine of a human being,  it causes severe illnesses such as gastrointestinal pain, nausea, and vomiting.

According to a report, some people develop complications including bell obstruction, peritonitis, and inflammation of the inner wall of the abdomen.

Other people may experience allergic reactions including swelling, skin rash, or even anaphylaxis. It can also cause difficulty in breathing and even loss of consciousness.

Bacterial Infections

Eating raw fish can also cause bacterial Infections. Vibrio vulnificus is one of the families of bacterial species that is present in raw seafood. It can cause serious complications in humans.

Diarrhea, abdominal cramping, nausea, vomiting, fever, and chills are some of the symptoms caused by bacteria present in raw or undercooked fish.

About 80 percent of these infections are happy in the seasons in which the coastal waters are warmest. You can also get an infection if bacteria or worms enter an open wound or cut inside or outside the body.


Raw fish may also contain the most common food poisoning bacteria, salmonella. Symptoms of a salmonella infection may develop within 72 hours after infection.

Eating shellfish can cause most of the salmonella infections. The oysters are the common culprits though.

Pollutants and Mercury Poisoning

Raw fish absorb a lot of pollutants from chlorinated water. Raw Fish from an ocean may contain domestic wastes, herbicides, and heavy metals.

The most common pollutant that enters the body by eating raw fish is mercury. Mercury exposure through raw fish consumption is very common in seafood lovers.

Fish contains mercury which is a toxic metal. This metal can accumulate within the muscles of fish. Then it transmits into the human body when they eat those fish.

There are many severe health problems from being exposed to mercury. Fetuses of pregnant women and young children are most commonly affected by mercury poisoning and other seafood pollutants. 

Mercury is a neurotoxin and high levels of mercury in the human body can cause memory loss, insomnia, headache, and delayed motor skills.

Types of Fishes That are Dangerous to Eat Raw

Although the parasites and bacteria can be present in all the seafood, certain fish species are more harmful to eat raw. These are:

  • Shark
  • Ray
  • Swordfish
  • Barramundi
  • Gem fish
  • Ling
  • Bluefin tuna
  • Orange roughy

You should avoid eating these fish species without cooking them. Otherwise, they can cause serious health problems.

Types of Raw Fish Dishes

To avoid eating raw fish, you must know which dishes have raw fish as the main ingredient. Here are some raw fish dishes that are most common worldwide.

  • Sushi
  • Sashimi
  • Ceviche
  • Yusheng
  • Poke
  • Gravlax

These are the dishes that contain uncooked fish. You should avoid ordering these dishes at restaurants.

How to Avoid the Dangers of Eating Raw Fish?

There are several methods to kill harmful parasites and bacteria present in raw fish. You can avoid the dangers of eating raw fish by following some tips. These are as under:

  • Eat the fish frozen for five to 6 days at -20 degrees Celsius. Freezing at this temperature kills most bacteria and parasites.
  • Thoroughly inspect the fish before eating. If it doesn’t look fresh, avoid eating.
  • Make sure your fish smells good. If it smells bad, that means it is not fresh.
  • Do not eat the fish if it was not kept in refrigerator for a long time.
  • Wash your hands before eating the fish. Sometimes you get bacteria from your hands and not from the fish itself.
  • Buy the fish from a trusted supplier. Make sure you are buying healthy and fresh fish.

Always follow these tips before eating raw fish. These tips can save you from the hazardous health effects of eating raw fish.


How long after eating raw fish will you feel sick?

It depends on how severely the bacteria and parasites interact with the human body. Mostly the symptoms appear within 72 hours of eating contaminated raw fish. The infection may last for five to six days.

Can eating raw fish give you parasites?

Yes, eating raw fish can give you parasites as seawater is home to a lot of bacterias and parasites. You may get roundworms, tapeworms, and ringworms. These parasites can cause different infections.

Is it okay to eat raw fish in sushi?

Mostly, people believe that raw fish in sushi is fine to eat as it is cured with salt and vinegar. But make sure you are eating sushi from a well-reputed restaurant and the sushi is fresh.

What to do if you eat raw fish?

If you develop the symptoms of food poisoning from eating raw fish, immediately consult a doctor. If you do not get any symptoms, just stay well hydrated and do not induce vomiting. Sip the water after regular intervals.

Bottom Line

Raw fish dishes are very common to eat in different regions of the world, but the dangers of eating raw fish are more serious than its advantages. No doubt, eating fish can be advantageous for your health. But you should be very cautious while rating a raw fish.

If you love eating raw fish, it must be frozen for a week or more at a specific temperature. Moreover, Immediately consult a doctor if you get foodborne illness after eating raw fish.

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