I wonder if heads of shrimps bought from US grocery stores are safe to eat.

  • Personally, I don't know what it is about them, but whenever I eat a whole shrimp (usually tiger shrimp, fried), no matter how much I chew, it seems to tickle on the way down, and make me gag.
    – Joe
    Commented Sep 27, 2011 at 21:59
  • Why would you eat their heads? You should peel that off and throw it away (or make fish stock with it).
    – Mien
    Commented Sep 27, 2011 at 22:00
  • 2
    @Mien: Because there are meat inside the shell of the head.
    – Tim
    Commented Sep 27, 2011 at 22:04
  • @Mien: And Tim forgot to mention: The heads are the best part! The shell is edible if cooked properly and/or if the shrimp variety naturally has a soft shell.
    – ESultanik
    Commented Sep 28, 2011 at 0:02
  • @Mein : never throw away ... always make shrimp stock. (shells + heads + water, simmer, strain ... even easier than chicken stock, as there's no bones to crack)
    – Joe
    Commented Sep 28, 2011 at 14:57

3 Answers 3


If it's safe to eat the shrimp, it should be safe to eat the head. The US food authorities (FDA) have, in a way, approved of the shrimp you have bought, so it's safe to eat.

  • 1
    Thanks! I wonder if some poisonous material such as some heavy metal is accumulated in the head.
    – Tim
    Commented Sep 27, 2011 at 22:44
  • I'm not sure about that, but the bigger 'blue' fish (tuna, salmon, etc) are more worrisome as they live longer and accumulate more 'heavy metal' Commented Sep 27, 2011 at 22:55
  • 1
    Well the sea cockroach diet of sea seawage is of more concern than the mercury in the water.
    – Neil Meyer
    Commented May 31, 2022 at 18:39

Yes , they are safe. In fact there are many people who think it's the best part of the shrimp. Although the way it's normally done is by sucking the liquid out of the head rather than eating the whole thing shell and all.


Nothing to worry about, specially if they have been frozen.

Actually, some fish stock recipes call for shrimp heads or shells.

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