Can ramen noodles give you worms? Don’t worry

                by Joost Nusselder | Updated:  September 12, 2021

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If you grew up, like a surprising number of us did, being told that you’d get worms if you ate raw ramen noodles then you might be wondering if that’s the truth.

Can ramen noodles give you worms? Don't worry

The good news is no, you cannot get worms from eating ramen noodles – cooked or raw.

Let me explain how you do get worms though, and why people might think ramen is a risk.

How do you get worms?

Worms are a fairly common infection, most often infecting children. Worms are a parasite that is spread in humans when they come into contact with worm eggs.

This can happen in several ways, but in most countries, the biggest concern is coming into contact with a surface containing worm eggs or drinking contaminated water.

The reason worms spread so commonly in children is due to poor hygiene practices.

Children are less likely to wash their hands properly (if at all, who are we kidding?) making it easier for a child with worms to pass on their infection by touching surfaces that are shared with other children such as in the classroom.

It is also possible, though less common in countries with proper food safety protocols, to get worms from eating raw or undercooked animal products.

In particular beef, pork and freshwater fish can most frequently contain baby worms that can be transmitted to humans when not properly cooked.

Is it okay to eat ramen noodles without boiling them?

If you’re looking to take a trip down nostalgia lane and snack on instant ramen noodles like your elementary school days, you’re in luck!

Instant ramen is completely safe to eat as a snack without “cooking” them in boiling water first. In fact, instant ramen is pre-cooked making it entirely safe to eat.

So many of us grew up being told that “uncooked” instant ramen would give us worms that it’s a point that regularly needs to be addressed.

Many popular brands of instant ramen, like Top Ramen, have had to include a FAQ question on their website addressing this question.

Who knew wanting to eat that salty, crunchy treat for lunch would cause such a fuss?

Can I eat uncooked fresh ramen?

Real uncooked ramen is typically made fresh from flour, water, vital wheat gluten, salt, and baking soda. While eating uncooked fresh ramen won’t give you worms, it can make you sick, though it’s very uncommon.

Unlike instant ramen, which is pre-cooked, fresh ramen runs the risk of giving you salmonella poisoning or an e.coli infection due to the raw flour in the dough.

While this will make you sick, a healthy adult should experience mild stomach flu-like symptoms before making a full recovery.

In addition to salmonella, uncooked fresh ramen can be harder to digest as the starches haven’t had a chance to break down during the cooking process.

This can result in indigestion or a stomachache, neither of which should last more than a day or so.

Conclusion

If you grew up in the era of the “ramen noodles will give you worms” myth, the good news is that your beloved instant ramen is entirely safe to eat whether you choose to eat it as is or as a warm bowl of soup.

The bad news is your parents lied to you, but for good reason.

Those instant ramen noodle packs have a ton of sodium so they were likely just saving us from the inevitable health problems we would all run into if we ate instant ramen for a snack every day like we begged to.

That doesn’t mean that you can’t treat yourself to a nostalgic snack every once in a while, so shake up those instant ramen noodles and seasoning in a ziplock bag like it’s fourth grade and enjoy!

Also learn How to Make Instant Ramen Without The Packet

Ever had trouble finding Japanese recipes that were easy to make?

We now have "cooking Japanese with ease", our full recipe book and video course with step-by-step tutorials on your favorite recipes.

Joost Nusselder, the founder of Bite My Bun is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with Japanese food at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.