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Can You Eat Salmon Raw from the Grocery Store?

By Ferdi Vol
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If you are a fan of sashimi or sushi, you know the role raw salmon plays in it. Due to the increased popularity of these items, people nowadays tend to make them at home. So, they choose grocery stores to get their raw salmon due to convenience. But can you eat salmon raw from the grocery store?  

Yes, you definitely can eat salmon raw from high-end grocery stores. But make sure that the salmon is previously frozen. Because that means the salmon doesn't contain bacteria or parasites. So, look for the term "flash-frozen" or "sushi-grade salmon" to get parasite & bacteria free raw salmon.

It would be best if you considered other things as well, like the salmon's appearance, the varieties, etc. To know more on this particular topic, I recommend you go through this article because I plan to provide you with all the necessary raw salmon information.  

Can You Eat Raw Salmon?  

Dishes made of raw salmon are likely to be delicious with some health benefits as they contain higher nutrients then cooked fish. So, raw salmon is a benefactor for you and can be eaten uncooked. But some considerations need to be taken into account to maintain your health.  

When it comes to uncooked salmon, it can have bacteria, parasites, and other toxins unhealthy for the human body, even in little quantity. Therefore, before eating raw salmon, ensure that the salmon you are provided with is appropriately stored and prepared.  

Are Grocery Store Salmons Safe to Eat Raw?  

With the increased popularity of sushi and other dishes that contain raw salmon, people are starting to make them at home, as mentioned before. As a result, they are buying raw salmon from grocery stores frequently. Even though eating raw salmon from grocery stores is relatively safe, it is still essential to look out for specifics before buying.  

The first thing that should be considered is searching for the term "sushi-grade salmon" on the packaging. This ensures that the manufacturer has prepared the salmon properly so that it can be eaten uncooked.  

If you cannot find the term mentioned above on the package, look for a term that indicates the same or states "flash-frozen." This term means that the salmon was instantly frozen after being caught, and thus the chances of it containing any bacteria or parasites are low.  

This is an important point because without the salmon being properly frozen, parasites and bacteria can survive on the salmon and cause harm to human health through parasite infection or worm eggs. But if the salmon is frozen for at least 24 hours before, then the harmful parasites will not survive and won't cause any harm to the human body.  

The second thing to look for is if the packaging says "sustainably-farmed" or "farm-raised." These are the types of salmon that are fenced and guarded. They are also adequately fed, so the possibility of them eating prey that may contain parasites or bacteria is low. As a result, eating "farm-raised" salmon raw diminishes the likelihood of intaking anything harmful.  

How to Pick Raw Salmon from the Grocery Store?  

Picking raw salmon from the grocery store can be challenging because of the affordability, freshness, and variety. Now, I will provide you with all the necessary information regarding picking raw salmon from the grocery store so that you can purchase it without hesitation and uncertainty.  

Source  

Before selecting the salmon, you want to buy; you'll need to do proper research on how the salmon was raised and how it was caught. If the packaging says that the salmon was "sustainably-raised" or "farm-raised," that indicates a farmed salmon. We have already discussed the benefits of farmed salmon, even though they have environmental downsides.  

Now the second type is "wild-caught" salmon. This indicates that the salmon was caught in an undisciplined setting. Also, if the packaging states "troll-caught" or "line-caught," it was caught in an old-fashioned way using rod and hook. As a result, the price of these salmon’s is a bit high as they also contain unsaturated fat that's good for your health.  

Varieties & Cost  

Salmons come in many varieties and cost range. Knowing the types is crucial if you want to get yourself the right salmon for your dish. Now, the main differences among the salmons are their color, size, and oil. Knowing these will give you a much clearer idea of what kind you want yours to be. Now, let's go through the varieties.  

King: This is the most expensive kind of salmon. Because it is the largest salmon containing the most oil, the rich and buttery goodness it provides is hard to find. It is sold at more than 25 dollars per pound.  

Sockeye: Sockeye is the next expensive variety. This one is deep red and can sometimes be a little grey from intensely cold glacial water. Sockeye provides you with creamy and delicious fat meat. It costs 15 dollars to 20 dollars per pound.  

Coho: Coho is an incredibly accessible salmon that ages well. As a result, it should be avoided at the beginning of the season as it requires time to get bulkier than the other options. The cost of Coho is around what Sockeye costs.  

Pink: This salmon is very fragile and has little flavor. Most of the grocery stores sell them in cans. This salmon doesn't age well; this is why retailers tend to avoid storing this pink salmon.  

Chum: This is the cheapest salmon that you'll find in grocery stores. Because it is not only the smallest salmon but the oil it contains is in the lowest amount. This salmon can also be labeled as keta or dogfish. Chum is an ideal choice for grilling as it is meatier. Just like Pink, it is also mostly sold in cans.  

Frozen or Fresh  

Just like any other food, fresh is a good quality for salmon as well. But only if you have the privilege to smell and touch the fish by yourself because only then can you be sure of having a quality piece of salmon. But if this option is not open to you, then the smarter choice is to get your salmon frozen rather than getting it fresh.

As mentioned earlier, when the salmon's packaging says "flash-frozen," it indicates that the salmon was instantly frozen after being caught. As a result, the flavor, nutrients, and texture were captured immediately and will remain captured until you decide to defrost it and consume it.  

On the other hand, even though the salmons in grocery stores are labeled fresh, but the fact is there is a chance that the fisherman had frozen them before shipping and thawed them afterward. So, choosing frozen over fresh salmon while buying from a grocery store is the smart decision.  

Cutting

While selecting salmon, you'll also need to consider how you want to present it and how many pieces you require. For example, if you plan on serving a large assembly, then the smart thing to do would be to get a whole side of salmon. If not, then at least two or three pounds of salmon. This will be easier for you as you can roast the salmon and then cut it into the required number of pieces.  

But if you are serving fewer people or serving as individuals, then the best thing to do is to go for fillets or steaks. Fillets are not only easy to deal with, but they can be grilled, pan-seared, roasted, and poached.  

Appearance

The cut doesn't affect the appearance of the salmon. Your salmon should always look vibrant, moist, thick, & without any bruises as long as it was stored and prepared correctly.  

These are the things that play important roles while picking raw salmon from grocery stores. If you consider the points mentioned above, you won't face any uncertainty or confusion while selecting the right salmon. 

Can Raw Salmon Cause Sickness?  

As mentioned earlier, raw salmon is only healthy when it is fresh and stored correctly. But if the salmon you are eating is spoiled or infected, then there's a high possibility of getting sick eating it. Now, let's talk about what will cause this sickness.  

  • If you are eating rotten salmon, then it can cause an intake of bacteria. Due to this, you may be subject to diarrhea, food poisoning, and puking. So, make sure to avoid consuming any salmon that smells funny and get rid of it immediately.  
  • If you are getting yourself a salmon that's not sustainably-farmed, then the possibility of getting worms is high. Because wild-caught salmons tend to be interested in smaller prey that may contain bacteria or parasites, it is typical for this type of salmon to have nematode worms.  

Therefore, make sure to get yourself salmon that's appropriately stored and also adequately prepared. Because raw salmon can cause diseases; otherwise, this type of worm can denounce the stomach lining.  

How to Ensure Raw Salmon Won't Cause Illness?  

While eating salmon raw, it is essential to assure somethings that will help you reduce the chances of getting a foodborne illness. So, there are some specific things that you should make sure of. Now, I am going to go through them point by point to make it easier for you.  

  • The first thing to make sure is that the salmon you are eating was previously stored in a frozen environment at –35 degrees Celsius. This low temperature will kill any parasite that the salmon may contain.  
  • Secondly, once you get a hold of the salmon, make sure to observe it accurately. If the salmon was correctly stored and prepared, it would be moist and firm and without any bruising, off-odor, and discoloration.  
  • Thirdly, if you are preparing raw salmon, make sure the knives, surface, and other appliances are clean because this will prevent bacterial infection.  
  • Lastly, when eating the raw salmon, if anything feels tingly in your mouth, cough it out right away because the reason behind it may be the salmon having a live parasite.  

Who Should Avoid Eating Raw Salmon?  

Even though raw salmon is relatively safe when specific considerations are made, some people should avoid eating raw fish. Because there's always a possibility of it containing parasites or other harmful toxins. So, the people who shouldn't be eating raw salmon are-  

  • Most senior adults  
  • Children  
  • Pregnant women  

People who have a weak immune system are also suggested to avoid eating salmon. Anyone with diabetes, AIDS/HIV, cancer, organ transplants, and liver disease should consult their doctor before consuming raw salmon or other raw seafood to avoid any severe foodborne infection.  

So, can you eat salmon raw from the grocery store? Yes, but only if you know which sort of salmon to pick.

In this article, I have talked about what you should focus on while getting your raw salmon from grocery stores. Besides that, I have included some other necessary information regarding the topic at hand. I hope this article was of help to you and wish you the best of luck in maintaining a healthy life.  

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About the Grocery Store Academy
The Grocery Store Academy is a blog about everything that has to do with grocery stores. This is your #1 spot to find the right information for your needs.
About the Author
Ferdi Vol has worked several years in a grocery store and has a passion for good food. He's happy to share his passion with you!
About Ferdi Vol
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