Are you a fan of sushi or sashimi? Have you ever wondered if it’s safe to eat raw salmon from the supermarket?
The answer is yes, but with some important caveats. In this article, we’ll explore the risks and benefits of eating raw salmon from the grocery store in the UK.
We’ll also discuss the different types of salmon available and the best practices for preparing and consuming it safely.
So whether you’re a seasoned sushi lover or just curious about trying raw salmon, read on to learn everything you need to know about eating supermarket salmon raw in the UK.
Can You Eat Supermarket Salmon Raw UK?
Yes, you can eat supermarket salmon raw in the UK, but it’s important to take certain precautions to ensure your safety.
Firstly, it’s essential to purchase sushi-grade salmon from a reputable fishmonger or store. Sushi-grade salmon has been previously frozen according to FDA guidelines to eliminate parasites. Make sure to check the label, as this type of salmon should be clearly labeled.
It’s also important to properly wash and prepare the salmon before consumption. The skin, scales, and fatty portions should be removed, and the salmon should be thoroughly cooked to an internal temperature of 145 F. Raw salmon should always be consumed immediately after preparation and be sure to use a clean utensil to avoid contamination.
It’s worth noting that “sushi-grade” doesn’t have a legal definition in the UK, so it’s up to the grocery store to determine if their fish is safe for raw consumption. However, purchasing previously frozen salmon is a good way to ensure any parasites are killed.
The Risks Of Eating Raw Supermarket Salmon
While it is possible to eat raw supermarket salmon, there are several risks associated with doing so. Raw salmon can contain parasites, bacteria, and other pathogens that can make you sick. Some of these pathogens occur naturally in the fish’s environment, while others can be a result of improper handling during processing and transportation.
One of the main risks of eating raw salmon from a supermarket is the possibility of consuming parasites. While sushi-grade salmon has been previously frozen to eliminate parasites, not all salmon sold in supermarkets is labeled as such. This means that there is a risk of consuming parasites if you eat raw supermarket salmon that has not been previously frozen.
Another risk is the potential for bacterial contamination. Raw salmon can contain bacteria such as Salmonella and Vibrio vulnificus, which can cause food poisoning if consumed. Cross-contamination is also a concern when eating raw salmon, as it can come into contact with other raw ingredients or contaminated surfaces during preparation.
It’s also important to note that “sushi-grade” does not have a legal definition in the UK, so there is no guarantee that the fish labeled as such is safe for raw consumption. It’s important to purchase salmon from a reputable source and to properly wash and prepare it before consumption to reduce the risk of illness.
Benefits Of Eating Raw Salmon
There are several health benefits associated with eating raw salmon. Here are some of the top benefits:
1. Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Raw salmon is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for heart health. These healthy fats can help protect against heart disease, reduce inflammation throughout the body, and improve cognitive function and memory.
2. Protein: Salmon is packed with protein, which is essential for healing after an injury, maintaining healthy bones, and keeping muscle mass even as you lose weight or age. A 100-gram serving of salmon has 22-25 grams of protein, making it an excellent source of high-quality protein.
3. Vitamin B: Raw salmon is an excellent way to get a lot of B vitamins, which help your body perform many essential functions. B vitamins help turn the food you eat into energy, make and repair DNA, and reduce chronic inflammation that can lead to illness.
4. Potassium: Salmon is a delicious and healthy option for people looking to increase their potassium intake. Wild salmon contains 13% of the Daily Value (DV) of potassium per 3.5 ounces (100 grams), which is more than an equal-sized banana. Potassium is essential for controlling blood pressure, and salmon consumption may also lower your risk of stroke.
5. Selenium: Salmon is rich in selenium, a trace mineral that your body needs in small amounts. Selenium helps protect bone health, lowers thyroid antibodies in people with autoimmune thyroid disease, and may reduce the risk of some types of cancer.
6. Astaxanthin: One of the most potent ingredients in salmon is astaxanthin, an antioxidant linked to reducing the risk of heart disease, lowering inflammation, and protecting the brain and nervous system. Astaxanthin is also known for its anti-aging properties and can help protect the skin from damage and reduce the appearance of wrinkles.
Types Of Salmon Available In Supermarkets
There are several types of salmon available in supermarkets, including Atlantic, King (or Chinook), Sockeye (or Red), Coho (or Silver), Pink, and Chum (or Keta) salmon. Atlantic salmon is the most common variety found in supermarkets and has a mild flavor and light pink color. It is perfect for everyday easy salmon recipes, whether fillets or steaks.
King salmon, also known as Chinook salmon, is the largest of the Pacific salmon species. It has a high-fat content and a silky texture that’s great for things like simple poached salmon and smoking. Sockeye salmon is stronger in flavor and lower in fat than other varieties. It is often served raw, smoked, and canned, making it a good variety for salmon burgers.
Coho salmon is mild in flavor and has a delicate texture. It’s smaller and is often sold whole, making it great on the grill. Pink salmon is the most abundant Pacific salmon and a smart food choice because it’s sustainably managed and generally not overfished. It’s lower in fat and most often canned, making it a good candidate for salads and salmon cakes.
Chum or Keta salmon are a popular source of salmon roe (caviar). They’re lower in fat and good for drying, smoking, grilling or roasting. The pricing of these varieties follows a pattern based on their size, color, and oil content. King salmon is the most expensive variety, often sold for upwards of $25 per pound. Sockeye and Coho come in slightly lower, around $15 to $20 per pound, while Atlantic can be found for between $10 and $15 per pound. Meanwhile, Chum and Pink salmon are most often processed and sold in a can or pouch.
Best Practices For Preparing And Consuming Raw Salmon Safely
If you choose to consume raw salmon, it’s important to follow some best practices to ensure your safety. Here are some tips to help you prepare and consume raw salmon safely:
1. Purchase Sushi-Grade Salmon: When buying raw salmon, make sure to purchase sushi-grade salmon from a reputable fishmonger or store. This type of salmon has been previously frozen according to FDA guidelines to eliminate parasites. Make sure to check the label, as this type of salmon should be clearly labeled.
2. Properly Wash and Prepare the Salmon: Before consuming raw salmon, make sure to properly wash and prepare it. Remove the skin, scales, and fatty portions of the fish, and ensure that it is thoroughly cleaned.
3. Thoroughly Cook the Salmon: If you’re not comfortable consuming raw salmon, you can also cook it thoroughly to an internal temperature of 145 F. This will help eliminate any potential pathogens that may be present in the fish.
4. Consume Immediately After Preparation: Raw salmon should always be consumed immediately after preparation. Do not let it sit out at room temperature for an extended period of time, as this can increase the risk of bacterial contamination.
5. Use Clean Utensils: When preparing and serving raw salmon, make sure to use clean utensils to avoid contamination. Avoid using wooden cutting boards or utensils, as these can harbor bacteria.
By following these best practices, you can enjoy raw salmon safely and without worry. Remember to always purchase sushi-grade salmon from a reputable source and properly prepare the fish before consumption.
How To Choose Fresh And Safe Supermarket Salmon For Raw Consumption
When choosing supermarket salmon for raw consumption, there are a few key things to look out for to ensure that the fish is fresh and safe to eat.
Firstly, pay attention to the smell. Fresh salmon should have a mild, fresh scent, not a strong fishy odor. If the salmon smells sour or ammonia-like, it’s likely not fresh and should be avoided.
Secondly, check the appearance of the fish. The eyes of the salmon should be clear and shiny, and the flesh should be firm and not slimy or sticky. Whole fish should have red gills with no odor, and fresh fillets should have red blood lines or red flesh if it’s fresh tuna.
It’s also important to check the label for any indications that the salmon is suitable for raw consumption. Look for labels such as “Sushi/Sashimi Grade,” “For Raw Consumption,” or “Flash-Frozen.”
If you’re unsure about the quality of the salmon, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and cook it thoroughly before consuming. Additionally, if you’re planning on consuming raw salmon regularly, it may be worth investing in a reliable fishmonger who can provide you with high-quality sushi-grade salmon.
Other Ways To Enjoy Supermarket Salmon Raw
While sushi and sashimi are the most popular ways to enjoy raw salmon, there are other delicious ways to enjoy it at home. One option is to make a salmon poke bowl. Simply mix cubed raw salmon with soy sauce, sesame oil, green onions, and avocado for a tasty and healthy meal. Another option is to make salmon ceviche, a Latin American dish that involves marinating raw fish in citrus juice. Mix diced salmon with lime juice, cilantro, red onion, and jalapeño for a refreshing and flavorful dish.
If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also try making your own gravlax at home. This Nordic dish involves curing salmon with salt, sugar, and dill for a few days. The result is a tender and flavorful salmon that can be served on bread or crackers.
No matter how you choose to enjoy raw supermarket salmon, always make sure to follow proper safety precautions and purchase from a reputable source. With the right preparation and care, you can safely and deliciously enjoy raw salmon from the comfort of your own home.