Can I Eat Sushi During Pregnancy?
If you are pregnant, you may be wondering “Can I eat sushi during pregnancy?”. Surprisingly, the short answer is YES (1). Although some guidelines may differ, current research says that it is safe to consume sushi that is:
- properly prepared
- flash frozen OR
- cooked (1,2,3,4)
However, it is recommended to AVOID:
- fish high in mercury
- raw shellfish
- sushi from non-reputable sources (2,3,4,6)
Read on to learn more about safely eating sushi during pregnancy.
Types of Fish to Choose
If you choose to eat sushi during pregnancy, eat fish that is low in mercury. This includes:
- Arctic char
- Rainbow trout
- Yellowfin tuna
- Lake whitefish
- Pollock (5)
In addition, you can eat sushi with shrimp or crab as long as it is fully cooked. To be considered fully cooked, the internal temperature must be a minimum of 74 C/165 F (2,6).
Types of Fish to Avoid
As mentioned above, you should avoid eating fish high in mercury. This includes:
- Albacore tuna
- Orange roughy
- Swordfish (5)
In addition, you should also avoid:
- Raw oysters and raw clams
- Raw shellfish (shrimp, crab, lobster)
- Ceviche (1,2)
Furthermore, it is recommended to avoid sushi from non-reputable sources. Therefore, this could mean preparing sushi at home using store-bought fish that was flash frozen.
General Food Safety Tips
When handling raw fish, it is recommended to practice the following:
- Wash your hands with hot, soapy water, before and after preparing it
- Clean and disinfect all kitchen surfaces
- Store frozen food in a freezer that is -18 C or below
- Ensure your refrigerator is 4 C or below (6)
For additional information about Food Safety During Pregnancy, head to our previous blog post. As well, you can sign-up for our email list to receive our FREE Pregnancy Nutrition Resource.
Final Notes from The Nest
In all, you can eat sushi during pregnancy. However, it must be properly prepared, flash frozen, or cooked. In addition, you should avoid fish high in mercury, raw shellfish, and sushi from non-reputable sources. Moreover, it is recommended to practice good food safety. Do you have more questions about food safety during pregnancy? Book a call with a Registered Dietitian at The Nest.
Article Written by Hailey Belaire
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- National Health Services. Is it safe to eat sushi during pregnancy? [Internet]. United Kingdom: National Health Services; 2018 [revised 2018 Feb 8; cited 2022 May 21]. Available from: https://www.nhs.uk/common-health-questions/pregnancy/is-it-safe-to-eat-sushi-during-pregnancy/
- Government of Canada. Food safety for pregnant women [Internet]. Canada: Government of Canada; 2019 [revised 2019 Sept 27; cited 2022 May 21]. 5p. Available from: https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/food-safety-vulnerable-populations/food-safety-pregnant-women.html
- UnlockFood [Internet]. Canada: Dietitians of Canada; c2020 [updated 2019 Feb 7; cited 2022 May 21]. Food safety during pregnancy; [about 4 screens]. Available from: https://www.unlockfood.ca/en/Articles/Pregnancy/Food-Safety-During-Pregnancy.aspx
- Brown JE. Nutrition basics. Nutrition through the life cycle. Boston (MA): Cengage Learning; 2017. 600p.
- PEN: The Global Resource for Nutrition Practice. Eating guidelines for choosing fish low in mercury [Internet]. Ottawa: Dietitians of Canada; 2020 [cited 2022 May 21].
- PEN: The Global Resource for Nutrition Practice. Healthy eating guidelines for food safety during pregnancy [Internet]. Ottawa: Dietitians of Canada; 2020 [cited 2022 May 21].