Food & Wine

Is it Safe to Eat Raw Salmon Sushi From the Grocery Store?

Is it Safe to Eat Raw Salmon Sushi From the Grocery Store?
Written by Eddie White

You probably already know that sushi-quality raw fish is used to make sushi and sashimi. This has led some to ask if store-bought salmon is safe to eat raw and what constitutes “sushi-grade” fish.

Is it Safe to Eat Raw Salmon Sushi From the Grocery Store?

If you get your salmon from a reputable grocery store, you can eat it raw even if it has been frozen. There is no statutory definition of “sushi grade.”

If something is safe to consume raw, it will be labeled as such at the supermarket. But parasites can be found in salmon, so it’s best to buy frozen salmon to eliminate the risk.

There are many varieties of salmon, including Atlantic, coho, sockeye, and chum. Additionally, when consumed raw, some varieties may be preferable to others.

However, there is much to learn about the fish and sushi found in supermarkets.

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What Happens if You Eat Raw Salmon?

It may potentially be contaminated with microorganisms that survived the freezing process. Raw salmon is popular among many.

However, parasites can be present in unfrozen raw salmon. Salmon should be cooked to an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit to ensure that all parasites and germs are destroyed.

Some parasites can be found in wild salmon, according to the Food and Drug Administration. Tapeworms, such as the invasive Japanese wide tapeworm, can be contracted by eating raw salmon.

Fortunately, the potential for illness can be considerably reduced by following safe handling and storage procedures.

The proper way to manage raw salmon is to flash freeze it to -20 degrees Fahrenheit for at least 30 to 48 hours. This is done routinely to eliminate parasites.

For the sake of food safety, please use clean cutting boards, plates, and knives while preparing your salmon.

Keep an eye out for parasites as you cook your salmon so you can remove them before eating. Parasites in salmon can’t be killed by freezing them. Simply said, it’s fatal.

If you want to get down to the nitty-gritty of it, you can always slice it incredibly thin and shine a light through it.

You should take out any embedded objects, such as a tiny watch spring or a grain of rice.

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Does Freezing Salmon Kill Parasites?

Parasites can be killed by freezing, but only if your freezer can get down to -31 degrees Fahrenheit.

Unfortunately, the temperature in your home freezer won’t drop low enough to effectively eradicate any parasites.

A “super freezer,” or freezer that keeps extremely cold temperatures, is used in establishments such as sushi restaurants and fish markets.

Despite the FDA’s freezing regulations, huge tuna species and farmed fish like salmon are excluded. Fish farms need to make sure their feed doesn’t contain any parasites.

The best salmon to consume is farmed salmon, so make sure to look for that option when shopping.

Getting to know the fishmonger at your local grocery store is a great idea if they offer a decent seafood section.

The fish’s date and location of capture can be obtained from a savvy fishmonger.

An excellent supermarket will stock fresh seafood, have a butcher on staff, and perhaps even sell medicine.

They should also know if the seafood they sell is safe to eat uncooked. Shop the frozen food aisle for farm-raised salmon if the seafood counter is lacking.

Can You Eat Raw Salmon in Costco or Walmart?

But that’s just a preview; let’s dive deeper into each store.

Costco. Under certain circumstances, the salmon sold at Costco can be consumed raw. Raw salmon from Walmart is not something I would eat.

Fresh fish that hasn’t been sitting out for too long is available in large quantities at Costco and comes with reliable labels. Walmart, on the other hand, prioritizes low prices over high standards.

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Raw Costco salmon is safe to eat. However, there are parameters you should follow and an amount of risk you should feel comfortable with.

Start by looking for farm-raised salmon that has been frozen before. Salmon that have been grown in captivity are less likely to be infected with parasites than wild-caught salmon.

You may also try searching for “farmed Alaskan salmon” or “farmed Atlantic salmon.” Parasites are common in salmon populations. In contrast, farmed salmon are not exposed to infectious prey because they are fed pellets throughout their whole lives.

True, wild-caught salmon has a superior flavor, but unfortunately, Costco’s deep-freezing methods do not pass muster with the FDA.


Walmart is known for its speedy turnover and massive inventory, but the quality of its meat and seafood is sometimes called into doubt. There is nobody to ask about the fish with because they don’t have a fishmonger.

Their frozen fish is so poorly received that it even gets negative reviews.

If you have to resort to buying fish because you have nowhere else to turn, try to stick to the same standards you’d use at Costco.

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Eddie White

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