Skip to Content

Is Raw Eel Safe To Eat?

Why is eel not eaten raw?

Eel is a type of fish belonging to the Anguillidae family, and it is known for its unique texture and flavor.

 However, unlike other types of fish such as salmon or tuna, eel is not commonly consumed raw.

 There are several reasons why eel is not eaten raw:

Eels can carry parasites and diseases

Raw eel can carry parasites and bacteria that can cause foodborne illnesses such as anisakiasis, which is caused by a parasitic worm.

 The symptoms of this condition include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea.

 Additionally, an eel’s skin is covered in mucus which can harbor bacteria that may cause infection.

Eels have high levels of toxins

Eels live in both fresh and saltwater environments and are known to accumulate toxins from their surroundings.

 Some species of eels have been found to contain high levels of mercury, PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls), dioxins, and other harmful substances.

 Cooking the eel can help reduce the level of toxins present.

Eels have a unique taste profile

Eating eel raw may not always be desirable due to its strong taste that may not be palatable for some people.

 Cooking the eel can help soften the texture while also adding additional flavors from the ingredients used.

In conclusion, while some types of eel may be safe to eat raw if prepared correctly, it is generally recommended to cook them thoroughly to reduce the risk of illness or harmful side effects.

Is Raw Eel Safe To Eat? 2

Is eel poisonous if not cooked?

Eel is not generally considered safe to eat if it is not cooked properly.

 Raw or undercooked eel can contain parasites and bacteria that can lead to food poisoning.

 These parasites and bacteria can cause serious illness, including vomiting, diarrhea, and even death in extreme cases.

Eel Parasites

Uncooked eel may contain parasites such as Anisakis simplex, which can cause anisakiasis when consumed by humans.

 Anisakiasis is a parasitic infection that causes severe stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

 The larvae of this parasite can penetrate the walls of the human digestive tract and cause inflammation or even intestinal blockage.

Bacteria and Other Contaminants

Eel may also contain harmful bacteria such as Vibrio vulnificus, which can be found in coastal waters where eels are harvested.

 This bacteria can cause serious infections in people with weakened immune systems.

 Other contaminants such as heavy metals like mercury and lead have been found in uncooked eel.

Cooking Eel Safely

The best way to avoid food poisoning from eating eel is to make sure that it is properly cooked before consumption.

 Whether you’re cooking fresh American eel on a grill or oven-baking Japanese unagi for use in sushi rolls, it’s important to ensure that your preparation method heats the fish at a high enough temperature (above 145 degrees Fahrenheit) for long enough (at least four minutes) to kill off any harmful bacteria or parasites.

In conclusion, while raw or undercooked eel may be popular in some cuisines for its unique taste and texture, it carries some risk of exposure to parasites and bacteria that could lead to serious illness if left unaddressed.

 Always make sure you cook your eel thoroughly before consuming it.

Is raw eel blood toxic?

Eel, like most seafood, contains blood that runs through its veins.

 For some people, the thought of consuming raw eel blood can be quite unappetizing.

 But is it actually toxic?

Where does the concern about raw eel blood come from?

Raw eel consumption has been a part of Japanese cuisine for centuries, especially in the form of unagi sushi and sashimi.

 However, there have been concerns raised about consuming raw eel blood due to potential parasitic infections.

Are there any health risks associated with consuming raw eel blood?

Raw eel blood may contain parasites which could cause food poisoning in humans.

 Consumption of certain types of parasitic worms found in freshwater fish can cause anisakiasis, a parasitic disease that can lead to vomiting, diarrhea and stomach pain.

 To prevent such infections, it is recommended to cook the eel thoroughly or freeze it beforehand.

Can you consume cooked eel blood?

The cooking process destroys most parasites found in the flesh and bloodstream of the fish.

 Hence if you decide to consume eels’ blood or dishes containing its blood after thorough cooking temperatures have been achieved you’ll minimize your risks significantly.

If you’re still unsure whether or not to consume raw or undercooked eels and their products containing its fluids then It’s best to consult your doctor before trying them out.

In conclusion, while raw eel may not necessarily be toxic for human consumption if prepared properly by professional chefs who know what they are doing and take necessary precautions when serving fresh fish products the risk lies once amateur individuals start handling such ingredients at home which could lead to spread of diseases such as anisakiasis caused by consuming under-cooked contaminated fishes.

Can you eat American eel raw?

American eels are found in Atlantic coastal rivers, streams and other freshwater systems in North America.

 These eels are used in a variety of dishes, including sushi and sashimi.

 However, the question is whether you can safely eat American eel raw.

The dangers of eating raw American eel

Like most types of fish, consuming raw American eel poses certain risks.

 The biggest danger is the risk of parasitic infections.

 Raw fish may contain parasites such as Anisakis or tapeworms, which can infect humans if consumed.

Additionally, uncooked fish may also contain harmful bacteria like salmonella and E.

coli that can cause food poisoning.

 These bacteria can be killed off by cooking the fish to a safe temperature (145°F).

How to safely consume American eel

If you still want to enjoy American eel without cooking it thoroughly, there are a few guidelines that you should follow to minimize the risks:

  • Only buy fresh, high-quality fish from reputable sources
  • Frozen fish should be stored properly at -4°F or below for at least 7 days before consumption to kill any potential parasites
  • Clean and prepare the fish carefully before consumption
  • Eat only small amounts at a time


In conclusion, while it is technically possible to eat American eel raw if it’s prepared properly and sourced from reputable vendors, it’s always safer to cook the fish thoroughly before eating it.

This will help reduce your risk of developing foodborne illnesses caused by harmful bacteria or parasites present in uncooked fish.

 Besides its potential health risks, most people who have tried cooked dishes made with American Eel suggest that cooked alternatives taste better than consuming this fish raw.

Is Raw Eel Safe To Eat? 1

Can raw eel make you sick?

Raw eel is not recommended for consumption due to the potential risks associated with it.

 Eels can carry parasites, bacteria and viruses which can cause illnesses in humans.

 Therefore, it’s safer to cook eel before eating it.


Raw eels may contain parasites such as Anisakis simplex which can infect humans upon ingestion.

 These parasites can lead to a condition called anisakiasis which causes abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhoea.

Bacteria and Viruses

Eels can also harbor bacteria and viruses that can cause serious health complications if consumed raw.

 Vibrio vulnificus is a type of bacteria that is commonly found in raw seafood including eels, and can cause severe illness such as sepsis or blood poisoning.

Cooking Eel Reduces the Risk of Illness

Cooking eel thoroughly before consuming it reduces the risk of contracting any foodborne illnesses associated with these creatures.

 Make sure to cook the meat until it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F or higher to ensure that any potential pathogens are killed off.

In conclusion, while eel sushi or sashimi might be trending in some parts of the world, it’s much safer to consume cooked eel dishes.

 As always, when handling raw seafood make sure to follow good sanitation practices and purchase from a trusted source.

Do Japanese eat raw eel?

Yes, Japanese people do eat raw eel.

 In Japan, raw eel is called “unagi sashimi” or “raw unagi.

” It is often sliced thinly and served with various condiments like soy sauce or wasabi paste.

The preparation process

The preparation process for raw eel is quite meticulous.

 Before it can be eaten raw, the eel must be gutted and cleaned thoroughly to remove any dirt or impurities.

 Then it is cut into thin slices and served at room temperature.

Health risks

While raw eel can be consumed safely in Japan, it is important to note that not all eels are safe to eat raw.

 Some species of eels contain toxins that can cause food poisoning if not properly prepared or cooked.

 Additionally, consuming raw seafood carries inherent health risks like parasitic infection that can cause illness.

Eating etiquette

In Japan, there are certain etiquette rules that should be followed when eating unagi sashimi.

 For example, it is considered bad form to dip the rice into the soy sauce; instead, the fish should be dipped in the sauce directly.

In conclusion, while Japanese people do eat raw eel, it should be consumed with caution and only from trusted sources that follow proper preparation and safety procedures.

Are American Eels Edible?

American eels are a type of freshwater eel that are found in North America.

 They have been consumed by humans for centuries and are considered a delicacy in many parts of the world.

 However, there is some controversy surrounding whether or not American eels are safe to eat.

Mercury Content

One concern with consuming American eels is their mercury content.

 Mercury is a toxin that can build up in fish and other animals over time.

 The larger the fish, the more mercury it typically contains.

 Because American eels can grow to be quite large, they may contain higher levels of mercury than other types of eels.

However, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), American eels are still safe to eat as long as consumption is limited to one meal per week for women who may become pregnant, nursing mothers, and young children.

 For the general population, consumption should be limited to two meals per week.

Cooking Precautions

In addition to mercury concerns, there are also considerations around how American eels are prepared and cooked.

 Raw or undercooked eel can potentially harbor harmful bacteria or parasites that can make humans sick if ingested.

 Therefore, it’s important to always cook American eel thoroughly before eating.

Cultural Views

In terms of cultural views on eating American eel raw or cooked as sushi or sashimi, it’s less common compared to Japanese cuisine which tends to use saltwater varieties such as unagi (freshwater) or anago (saltwater).

 Although there may still be some restaurants that serve this type of dish with freshwater species; however they need extra care while preparing them safely.

Nutritional Value

American eel is a good source of nutrients such as vitamin A, omega-3 fatty acids and protein.

 As such, when cooked properly and consumed within recommended limits set by health authorities like EPA above mentioned; American Eel can be part of healthy diet regimen.

In conclusion, when taking into account proper cooking precautions and consumption limits set by national authorities; yes! we can consider consuming this fresh water variety in moderation as part of our diets but ensure sufficient knowledge on handling properly while cooking without neglecting any health precautions considering mercury etc.

Do eels carry diseases?

When it comes to eating any type of raw seafood, the question of whether or not it carries diseases is a valid concern.

 While American and European eels do not typically pose a significant health risk when consumed raw, it’s essential to keep in mind that all animals carry the potential for pathogens.

Eel-Borne Diseases

There is no evidence to support the idea that cooked eel is less safe or more prone to disease than other types of seafood.

 Nevertheless, there are potential risks associated with consuming raw or uncooked eel, particularly in areas where pollution and industrial waste may have contaminated waterways.

 One risk associated with eating uncooked eel is the presence of bacteria that can cause illness.

 Vibrio vulnificus and Vibrio parahaemolyticus are examples of bacteria found in some species of eel that can cause gastrointestinal issues like diarrhea and vomiting.

Precautions for Safe Consumption

To ensure safe consumption, it’s crucial to purchase eel from reputable sources known for selling high-quality, properly refrigerated seafood.

 Before consuming any type of raw or undercooked fish or shellfish, it’s also vital to consider any underlying health conditions that might put you at greater risk for foodborne illnesses.

It’s worth noting that cooking kills bacteria, viruses, and parasites in the flesh of fish and other animals by breaking down their cellular walls.

 Therefore, cooking your eel properly can significantly reduce your risk of bacterial infection.

The Bottom Line

In summary, while there are potential risks associated with consuming raw or undercooked eel due to bacterial infections that could potentially exist within its flesh, these risks can be largely mitigated by purchasing high-quality seafood from reputable sources and taking appropriate precautions before consuming them.

 By doing so, you can enjoy this unique delicacy without compromising your health.

Is Eel Sushi Fully Cooked?

Sushi Basics

Before we dive into the cooked or raw nature of eel sushi, it’s important to understand the basics of sushi.

 Sushi is a Japanese dish that typically consists of vinegared sushi rice and a variety of seafood, vegetables, and sometimes fruits.

 The seafood used in sushi can be cooked or raw, depending on the type and preparation.

Eel Sushi Preparation

Eel sushi, also known as unagi sushi, is a popular type of sushi that features freshwater eel (Anguilla japonica) grilled and served on top of a bed of sushi rice.

 Traditionally in Japan, the eel is grilled with a sweet soy sauce glaze called kabayaki.

While the eel itself is cooked, it is not fully cooked through the grilling process.

 The inside of the eel remains slightly rare and tender.

 This partially cooked texture is what makes unagi so delicious and unique in flavor.

Is it Safe to Eat?

Despite being partially raw, eel sushi is considered safe to eat when prepared properly.

 This means sourcing fresh eels from reputable suppliers and ensuring they are cleaned thoroughly before being grilled.

 In addition, restaurants should follow proper food safety standards and ensure that their chefs are trained in proper handling techniques.

It’s important to note that some people may experience an allergic reaction to eel due to its high content of an allergenic protein called parvalbumin.

The Verdict

In conclusion, while eel sushi may not be fully cooked through the grilling process, it is considered safe to eat when prepared properly by trained professionals.

 Its unique flavor makes it a popular choice among sushi lovers worldwide.

What Does Raw Eel Taste Like?

Eel is a popular delicacy in many parts of the world, especially in Japan.

 However, many people are hesitant to try eel dishes, especially if they’re not familiar with the taste.

 If you’re curious about raw eel, here’s what you can expect:

A Mild Flavor

Raw eel has a surprisingly mild flavor that’s slightly sweet and briny.

 It lacks strong fishy taste that some people find unpalatable and has a delicate flavor that pairs well with other ingredients.

 The texture of raw eel is also quite unique – it’s soft, slimy and chewy at the same time.

Subtle Umami Notes

Umami (savory) flavors are often found in raw fish and seafood, especially in shellfish like oysters and clams.

 Raw eel also has subtle umami notes that enhance its flavor profile.

Fatty and Rich

Eels are known for their high fat content, which gives their meat a rich and buttery texture.

 Raw eel sashimi or sushi showcases this fatty texture more than cooked preparations which tend to lean towards being more flaky.

The Role of Sauces

In Japanese cuisine, raw eel is often served with soy sauce or teriyaki sauce.

 These condiments help to bring out its mild flavor and reduce any potential “fishiness.

” The sauces also add depth to the dish by introducing salty, savory, tangy or sweet flavors depending on which sauce is used.

All in all, raw eel has an unexpected yet delightful taste despite its intimidating appearance.

 If you’re feeling adventurous enough to try it, you may be pleasantly surprised!

Is Eel Sushi Good For You?

The Nutritional Value of Eel Sushi

Eel sushi is an excellent source of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals.

 A typical serving of eel sushi contains around 360 calories and 20 grams of fat.

 Eels are rich in vitamins A, B12, D, and E, as well as minerals such as calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, and zinc.

Health Benefits of Eel Sushi

Consuming eel sushi can have a range of health benefits including:-Improved brain function: Eels are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids which are essential for maintaining brain health.

-Better heart health: The omega-3 fatty acids present in eels can help lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease.

-Stronger immune system: The vitamins and minerals found in eels can help strengthen the immune system and improve overall health.

Potential Risks of Eating Eel Sushi

While there are many benefits to eating eel sushi, there are also some potential risks.

 Some people may be allergic to eel or may experience an allergic reaction due to contamination during preparation.

Additionally, due to the high levels of mercury found in some types of eels (such as imported Japanese eels), it is recommended that pregnant women and young children avoid consuming them raw.

Cooked vs.

 Raw Eel Sushi

Traditionally, eel sushi is served cooked rather than raw.

 This is because raw eel meat has a strong texture and flavor profile that can be overwhelming for some people to eat.

 Cooked eel meat is more tender and has a milder taste.

However, some people do enjoy the taste of raw eel sushi (known as “sashimi”) but it’s important to ensure that it’s prepared properly by a trained chef.

In conclusion, while there are some risks associated with eating raw eel sushi due to potential contamination or mercury levels in certain types of eels like imported Japanese ones).

 However when prepared properly by a trained chef or eaten cooked then consuming eel sushi can offer many nutritional benefits including improved brain function, better heart health,and a stronger immune system.

Is Raw Eel Safe To Eat?

Is Eel Sashimi Healthy?

Eel Nutrition Profile

Eel is a highly nutritious fish that is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins A, B12, D, and E, and essential minerals like selenium, copper, and iron.

 These nutrients help to support healthy brain function, immune system health, cardiovascular health and promote healthy skin.

Raw Eel Sashimi Health Concerns

While eel sushi or sashimi is a delicacy in Japan and other parts of the world, many people are wary of eating raw eel due to potential health risks associated with consuming raw fish.

 Raw eel may contain harmful bacteria like Vibrio vulnificus or Anisakis nematodes.

Cooking Eel Helps Reduce Risk of Foodborne Illness

Cooking eel properly can significantly reduce the risk of foodborne illness.

 Consuming cooked eel that has been properly prepared at a reputable restaurant or at home can be a delicious and nutritious addition to your diet without worrying about any potential health risks associated with consuming raw eels.


Although eels are highly nutritious fish that can make an excellent addition to your diet due to their omega-3 fatty acids and essential minerals content.

 However, when it comes to consuming raw eels in the form of sushi or sashimi, there are definite health risks involved that could result in foodborne illness.

 Therefore it is important to choose reputable restaurants that serve adequately cooked eel dishes if you want to enjoy this delicacy safely.

Is Raw Eel Safe To Eat? 2

Grilled Eel Rice Bowl

It's delicious for eel.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Grilled Eel Rice Bowl
Servings: 4
Calories: 740kcal


  • 2 unagi freshwater eel fillets (one fillet is roughly 5.6 oz or 160 g; defrosted)
  • cooking spray or neutral-flavored oil, for broiling
  • For the Unagi Sauce enough for 2 fillets; double or triple the amount for extra sauce
  • ¼ cup mirin or substitute 3 parts sake or water + 1 part sugar
  • Tbsp sake or substitute Chinese rice wine or water
  • Tbsp sugar
  • ¼ cup soy sauce use GF soy sauce for gluten free

For Serving

  • Japanese sansho pepper


  • Mix ingredients together. I advise making twice or triple the quantity for Yaki Onigiri or other unagi recipes since the unagi sauce may be stored for three months.

How to Prepare the Unagi Sauce

  • Mirin, sake, sugar, and a small pot should be used.
  • After combining the ingredients, place the pot on the stovetop at medium heat. Bring the mixture to a boil after adding the soy sauce.
  • After boiling, lower the heat to maintain a medium simmer; you should notice little bubbles around the pan’s edge. Simmer for another 10-15 minutes, or until the liquid is reduced to about one-third of its initial volume.
  • Once the sauce finishes boiling, it will thicken and start to bubble more. Verify that the sauce has thickened to a third of its original consistency using the chopstick. After that, take it out of the heat. The sauce will thicken more as it cools.
  • Remove the unagi
  • To fit the size of your serving bowl for donburi, cut the unagi fillet in half or thirds.


  • Place a rack about 8 inches (20 cm) away from the top heating element and turn the broiler* on high (550oF/288oC) for 5 minutes (in the center of the oven). * Low (450°F/232°C), Medium (500°F/260°C), and High (550°F/288°C) are the broiler settings. My preferred broil settings are High (8 inches away) or Medium (6 inches away). While broiling, you regulate the distance between the broiler and the food’s surface rather than the oven’s temperature. Using hotter and cooler zones on your barbecue is analogous.
  • For simple cleanup, line a baking sheet with foil, then brush or spray the oil onto the foil. Put the skin-side down of the unagi pieces on the foil.
  • There is no need to flip it; just roast it on one side.
  • Brush the sauce over the unagi after turning the oven on. After that, broil the food once more for 30 to 60 seconds or until the sauce bubbles on top.



Calories: 740kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 0.04g | Saturated Fat: 0.003g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.01g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.003g | Sodium: 923mg | Potassium: 32mg | Fiber: 0.1g | Sugar: 13g | Calcium: 3mg | Iron: 0.4mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Follow me