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Can You Eat Tilapia Raw? (Important Facts)

Tilapia not only tastes great but is also well-known for its affordable price. Nevertheless, many doubt its health value as fish. The reason is that it is grown in small congested pens. It makes this fish population prone to more diseases.  

We can consume Tilapia in many ways. Some like it cooked, while some may find it better as raw dishes such as sushi or sashimi.

So, in what ways is it safe to eat Tilapia? We have your queries answered. You will find all information related to the consumption of Tilapia.

Can you eat tilapia raw?

It is okay to eat raw Tilapia. The fish is a popular substitute for red snapper in sushi recipes. However, Tilapia grown in an unhealthy environment are susceptible to diseases. Hence, it is essential to get quality Tilapia with healthy rearing farming practices. You can eat Tilapia cooked or raw.

Tilapia is worldwide sought-after for its subtle sweet taste and low-end price. It is a popular alternative to expensive fishes such as red snapper and Tai.

Many enjoy eating Tilapia, even though a lot may seem to disapprove of eating it raw.  Nevertheless, Tilapia is safe to consume. However, there are chances that this raw fish could lead to serious health issues such as food poisoning, vomiting, and stomach ache.

There are reasons for it to become unsafe when consuming raw. The cultivation of Tilapia in many places is done in unhealthy ways.  The fishes get small crowded pens to live in, which makes them vulnerable to diseases. The farmers then use antibiotics.

It may affect human health when one eats Tilapia. It is thus best to eat Tilapia that are raised healthy on a farm.

Again, while cooking, the temperature should be appropriate. An adequate temperature is 145 degrees Fahrenheit. That is when the flesh becomes opaque and easily separates.

Moreover, when having raw fish, make sure it is frozen previously. The freezing temperatures will kill any potential parasites.

Frozen or defrosted tilapia raw:

You can refrigerate Tilapia for 2 to 3 days. Afterward, it may not rot, but you should not eat after the expiry date. Thawed or defrosted Tilapia can be unsafe to eat raw. The microbes can once more become active. They may multiply at room temperature.

Tilapia can once again be processed to eat raw.

What happens if you eat raw tilapia? Can you get food poisoning from it?

Eating Tilapia is not harmful either eaten cooked or raw. However, many seem to get doubtful of whether they should eat Tilapia especially, the uncooked ones.

We know raw meat can be harmful to health as it may contain germs causing food poisoning. Is it the same with raw Tilapia? The cases of getting sick by eating uncooked Tilapia are very few. It also implies that eating raw Tilapia is not harmful as people may consider it to be.

The poisoning that happens from consuming raw Tilapia is known as scombroid poisoning. The signs and symptoms appear pretty soon, within 30 minutes of Tilapia fish ingestion.

The most common symptoms are getting rash, flushing, headache, vomiting, and diarrhea. They may persist for 12 to 48 hours. Nevertheless, these symptoms are not life-threatening. No report shows death from consuming raw Tilapia.

It is safe to eat Tilapia only when you get the fish from a quality shop and safe farming practice. It will not cause any of these health risks.

A lot of farmers who cultivate tilapia are seen raising Tilapia in an unhealthy environment. The fishes are grown in crowded pens. It compels them to become more prone to diseases.

The farmers once again give antibiotics which can pose a considerable health risk for humans when they consume Tilapia.

So from a good farming practice and with the proper handling of Tilapia, it is possible to eat them raw. Otherwise, it could risk humans to food poisoning.

Does tilapia need to be fully cooked or is it ok to eat undercooked tilapia?

One can eat Tilapia either cooked or raw or undercooked. When uncooked, try to get Tilapia that is already frozen. This way, you can avoid all types of germs. Also, make sure to handle the frozen Tilapia properly when making dishes such as sushi or sashimi.

It is better if you can eat fully cooked Tilapia. You do not need to worry about getting sick. Again, one can eat Tilapia undercooked as well. For that, you need to ensure quality fish that are raised in healthy ways on the farm.

If you buy yourself a low-quality fish that was reared unsafe, you may end up with food poisoning.

 Can tilapia be used for sushi?

Yes, one can use tilapia fish for sushi. They are served regularly in restaurants in North America, Europe as an alternative to red snapper or expensive Tai fish. Although many enjoy eating Tilapia, many may not consider it for sushi. 

They are either not pleased with the taste or perhaps doubtful about eating Tilapia raw. A quality Tilapia fish tastes sweet and has a mild flavor. It means that it doesn’t smell too fishy.

When you decide to use Tilapia in sushi, make sure to treat and handle it well. You need to get one that is already frozen.  When cutting the meat for sushi, try to cut it while it’s still frozen.

Again, properly grown and healthy practices in farming won’t affect your health when eating Tilapia. They are not grown densely in pens. The risks of diseases are also less, making the farmers use fewer antibiotics in farming.   

How to eat raw tilapia?

To eat raw Tilapia, you need to follow some steps. It ensures proper preparing technique as well as saves you from potential health risks. Here’s how you can process Tilapia to eat it raw.

Clean the fish:

First, clean the fish or fish fillet thoroughly. Pat dry the Tilapia with a clean fabric or tissue.

Use lime juice:

Now, take the frozen fish into a bowl and pour lime juice over it. Gently mix and combine. Now cover it with plastic wrap.

Freeze/ chill:

Now, put the fish inside a refrigerator to chill. Keep it there for 20 to 30 minutes. Now, take out the chilled fish fillet and cut according to your need.

Cut thin slices:

For the sushi and sashimi recipe,  try cutting the fillet into thin slices. Freezing the fish will help in cutting fine slices.

How long is raw tilapia good for? How long will it last in the fridge?

Once you get Tilapia from the market, it won’t remain fresh for a long time without freezing. Bacteria build-up and grow between 40 degrees Fahrenheit to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. It means at room temperature, Tilpalia will last for 2 to a few hours.

If you want to expand the shelf life, freeze it as soon as you bring Tilapia home. The frozen fish is good for 2 to 3 days. However, you can keep it longer but, it is not recommended. When you cook the Tilapia, you can store it inside the fridge for 3 to 4 days. 

How to tell if raw tilapia is bad?

When you get Tilapia, it may go bad if you do not store it properly within time. There are ways you can tell if tilapia has gone stale?

Some common symptoms are, the fish will smell sour. Again, the color of the fish will become dull. Moreover, the texture of the skin becomes slimy.

If you notice such type of fish, you should not cook or eat it. Just throw it away as soon as possible. Otherwise, it will spread a foul smell within a few hours. Consumption of such Tilapia could posses risks to human health. 

Is tilapia a safe fish to eat?

Tilapia is safe to eat. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) lists Tilapia as one of the best fish choices especially, for pregnant women and children over 2 years. The fish contains a low level of mercury and contaminants.

Nevertheless, when you cultivate Tilapia through good farming practices, they are safe to consume. A healthy environment and pens will allow the fish to grow without diseases. 

The Tilapia that are considered unsafe are the ones reared in unhealthy, crowded pens. In such scenarios, the fishes become more prone to diseases. It compels the farmer to give their fish antibiotics. This practice is unsafe for humans when they eat such Tilapia. 

Final thoughts

One can consume Tilapia uncooked, cooked, or under-cooked. The fish is popular for its taste and low price. Nevertheless, to ensure you are eating safe, get quality Tilapia raised with healthy farming practices. The ones we get from unhealthy rearing may pose health risks such as food poisoning.