What Fish Can You Not Eat Raw?

Sushi lovers often appreciate the delicate flavors and textures of raw fish. However, it’s crucial to know that not all fish are suitable for raw consumption. Whether you enjoy sushi at a restaurant or make it at home, understanding which fish to avoid raw is essential to prevent foodborne illnesses caused by harmful bacteria and parasites. This article will explore five fish varieties best avoided when consuming them raw. Let’s dive into the details to ensure a safe and enjoyable sushi experience.

5 Fish Varieties Not Recommended for Raw Consumption

While many fish species are safe to eat raw, certain types possess a higher risk of containing parasites, bacteria, or toxins that can cause health complications. And while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say that to avoid foodborne infection, you should not eat raw or undercooked fish, shellfish, or food containing raw or undercooked seafood, such as sashimi, some sushi, and ceviche, we know that these items can be culinary delights when prepared properly.

That said, it is essential to exercise caution when selecting fish for raw consumption.  Here are some fish varieties that experts advise against eating raw:


Unlike cod, which has a firmer and flakier texture, pollock has a softer and mushier consistency better suited for cooked preparations. Additionally, the article mentions that pollock can have a more pronounced fishy flavor when eaten raw, which may not appeal to everyone. Therefore, cooking pollock thoroughly to enhance its taste and texture before consuming it is advisable.

Largemouth Bass

Largemouth bass, like other freshwater fish, may carry parasites and bacteria that can pose health risks when consumed raw. These include parasites such as tapeworms and flukes, which can cause gastrointestinal issues. To ensure safety, it is advised to cook largemouth bass thoroughly, which helps eliminate potential pathogens and enhances its flavor.


There’s a big reason why experts don’t recommend haddock for raw consumption! Raw haddock may harbor harmful bacteria and parasites, including Vibrio and Anisakis, which can lead to foodborne illnesses and gastrointestinal distress. Cooking haddock thoroughly helps eliminate these potential health risks while enhancing its taste and texture. It is important to prioritize food safety by opting for properly cooked haddock rather than consuming it raw.


Known as the “clown of the sea” due to its distinct multicolored markings, the tilefish is an intriguing fish. With a delightfully sweet flavor and firm texture, it lends itself well to various cooking methods, such as baking or frying. However, despite their appeal, caution is advised when consuming tilefish. While the population is currently healthy, thanks to responsible wildlife management by NOAA, tilefish remain vulnerable to overfishing. Moreover, the mercury levels in these fish are significantly elevated, rendering them unsafe for consumption. It is best to appreciate their playful antics in the ocean’s depths and leave them undisturbed.


Pufferfish, also known as fugu, contain potent toxins, specifically tetrodotoxin, which can cause severe poisoning and even lead to paralysis or death if consumed. The toxin is primarily found in the internal organs, such as the liver, ovaries, and intestines, making it extremely risky to prepare puffer fish without proper expertise. It is crucial to rely on highly trained and licensed chefs who can safely remove and handle the toxins before consuming puffer fish.

Delicious Seafood At Mare Oyster Bar

Eating raw fish can be a delightful culinary experience, but it’s crucial to prioritize safety and choose fish varieties suitable for raw consumption. You can significantly reduce the risk of foodborne illnesses by avoiding certain fish species known for their high mercury content, ciguatera toxin, or potential parasitic infections. Remember to rely on reputable sources and knowledgeable chefs to ensure the safety of your sushi choices. You can relish a delicious seafood meal when you come to Mare Oyster Bar in the North End! Make a reservation today to experience the best-cooked seafood and safest raw seafood around!