Can you eat raw crabs?

In this short article, we will provide an answer to the question, ”Can you eat raw crabs?” with an in-depth analysis of the harmful effects of eating raw crabs, how to safely consume crabs and the health benefits of eating crabs.

Can you eat raw crabs?

No, you can not eat raw crabs. It is dangerous to consume raw crabs as they may contain harmful pathogens that can lead to severe food poisoning. Additionally, it is not possible to chew the hard endoskeleton of crab without cooking. 

What are crabs?

Crab is one of the most popular and commonly caught sea animals. Thousands of different species of crab are known, but only a few are used as food for human consumption. Crabs possess two claws and a hard exoskeleton.

Among many different species of crabs in the water and on land,  is the most commonly consumed species. 

About 300,000 tonnes of Portunus trituberculatus crabs are caught annually, accounting for almost 20% of the total crab consumed and caught worldwide.

To enjoy the pleasant taste and beneficial nutrients present in crab meat, the crab’s exoskeleton must be broken apart and severed. You will be amazed to see how much meat is inside and how juicy it is, especially in some of the larger types of crabs. 

Health risks associated with eating raw crab

Raw crabs may be composed of harmful pathogens, including parasites (e.g. Paragonimus westermani, also recognised as lung fluke) and bacteria (e.g. Vibrio parahaemolyticus and Vibrio cholerae). 

Using ingredients such as vinegar, wine, soy sauce, chilli and garlic for marinating crab can not kill these pathogens. Cooking the food thoroughly is the only way to get rid of these microorganisms.

Symptoms vary depending upon the type of pathogen ingested after eating contaminated raw crabs. For example, cholera is caused by the Vibrio cholerae bacteria with symptoms including severe diarrhoea and vomiting, which may lead to dehydration. If treatment is delayed, cholera can cause death. 

On the other hand, if raw meat containing Paragonimus westermani is consumed, it can lead to lung disease, and sometimes can progress to the brain where it can lead to meningitis. Infection caused by lung fluke parasites usually occurs several weeks after exposure which may last for many years. 

Infection caused by Vibrio parahaemolyticus can cause food poisoning with symptoms including abdominal pain, diarrhoea, and fever.

Additionally, crab meat may contain cadmium that is toxic for health. 

Nutritional contents of crab meat

Crabmeat has many of the similar nutrients found in other common types of seafood but with lower levels of mercury. It is rich in folate, Vitamin B12, Niacin, Iron, zinc and selenium. 

A one-cup serving of cooked crab provides 97 calories, 21 grams of protein and less than 1 gram of fat with no carbohydrates, fibre or sugar.

Health benefits of crab meat

Crab is rich in protein, which is essential for building and repairing muscles. It also has high amounts of vitamin B12, omega-3 fatty acids, and selenium. These nutrients play important roles in promoting health as described below:

  • Improve heart health. The omega-3 fatty acids in crab improve heart health. They may also help lower triglycerides levels, reduce blood clotting, and reduces the risk of cardiac arrhythmia.
  • Prevent anaemia. Vitamin B12 and folate present in crab help reduce the risk of anaemia and vitamin deficiency. People with anaemia lack healthy red blood cells and suffer from fatigue and weakness.
  • Keep your brain strong. It has been found that people who eat crabs and other seafood at least once per week have a lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. It is due to the high levels of omega-3 fatty acids found in crabs and other seafood.

How to buy crab meat?

Try to buy frozen or fresh crabmeat rather than canned, which has less taste. Fresh crabmeat is from crabs that have been boiled or steamed. it is typically sold in plastic containers placed over ice at the supermarket. Usually, the meat is pasteurized to destroy pathogens and to prolong its shelf-life. 

Another thing to keep in mind when you are buying crabmeat is the grade. Anything labelled “jumbo,” “lump,” or “back fin” should be prefered as it contains the largest pieces. “Flake” and “special” refer to smaller chunks of crabmeat, and claw meat, although good in taste, has a brownish colour and a different texture from the body meat.

How to remove bits of shell out of crabmeat?

Fresh crabmeat may have tiny pieces of shell in it, sometimes. To remove them, spread the meat out on baking paper and put it in an oven for a minute, the pieces of the shell will become red, making them easier to find.


In this short article, we have provided an answer to the query, ”Can you eat raw crabs?” with an in-depth analysis of the harmful effects of eating raw crabs, how to safely consume crabs and the health benefits of eating crabs.


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