Raw oysters are either still alive - or freshly killed - when you eat them.
Most people think keeping them alive longer makes them safer to eat,
but that's not the full story.
Do you want to know a secret? This oyster I'm about to eat,
could still be... alive!Most people think it's a food safety issue.
You keep the oyster alive as long as possible and that reduces the risk of
bacteria, contamination, and there is a little bit of truth to that. Oysters can
carry a scary flesh-eating bacteria called Vibrio vulnificus.
You can get it from oysters or from swimming with an open wound in brackish
water where the bacteria lives. But, let's put things in prospective.
The risk of running into a bad oyster is phenomenally low. My biggest pet
peeve is people like, go crazy over one bad oyster in the news, but they
don't really care that hundreds of thousands of pounds of lettuce are
contaminated with Salmonella.
About 100 people die from Vibrio infections each
year. About 450 die from Salmonella. Plus, the FDA requires that oyster farm
have to test water quality before sending oysters out to markets and restaurants,
and that's important because oysters are filter feeders, they soak basically
anything that's in the water around them including fecal matter which can come
from rain runoff. Yak, but there's a clever little secret way you can check how
fresh your oysters are.
- One thing that you can ask for is a shellfish tag,
which every, retailer or restaurant is required to have every bag of oyster that
they purchase for up to 90 days, after that purchase. So, that tag, if they
don't have it, don't eat those oysters.
This tag is a way for restaurant to track
where and when the oysters were farmed. Qiu says that she looks for the most
recent dates on the tag, anything further out than two weeks won't taste this
good,and increases the risk of a bad oyster. Some chefs may look at you funny
for asking for this documentation, but it's a strategy that apparently works.
I tried to do the math and I probably had over six or seven thousand oysters by
now in my lifetime and I've never gotten sick once from an oyster.
are safe.So, question, why on earth are they still sometimes alive or dying when
we're eating them?
- You really want you're raw shellfish to be absolutely fresh
and,you know, the freshest you can get is something that is just very recently killed.
So, it goes back to not only the food safety but the actual taste and the texture
of that oyster to me just far superior.
So, basically freshly killed oysters taste better,
and it's hard to tell exactly when an oyster dies, because before it's served it's
shocked and shocking is,how should I put this, shocking is not a gentle process.
Shocking involves separating the oyster abductor muscle form its shell, this muscle
gives the oyster control over opening and closing the shell, similar to how your
spinal cord helps you move.So, severing their abductor muscle is almost like,
severing you spine. Yikes! Most restaurants in the US keep their oysters alive
on ice up until the shocking process, which either kills the oyster or renders it
completely immobile. Since they don't move around much in the first place
it's kind of hard to tell which.So it's easy to feel guilty sitting there, eating an
oyster that was either just killed or is maybe dying. But consider the oyster
biology. It's very primitive, so it's possible they might not even feel pain at all.
They don't have a brain, they're not really processing pain in the same way that
we process, any kind of feeling, so,I don't believe that they are feeling pain in the
same way that we are thinking of it.So, really it's a up to you, if you don't
wanna eat oyster, that's fine, and if you do you won't be the first.
It's one of the few foods that have not changed in like,thousands and
thousands of years. So, being able to appreciate a food that has remained
unchanged for that long is something really special and remarkable and
I think it should be celebrated for what it is.
1. What bacteria that can be found in oysters?
2. For what reason why we eat oysters alive?
3. How do we know if the oysters are fresh?