Are Green Oysters Safe To Eat?




Given the risk, it’s hard to blame anyone for shying away from an oyster whose color looks a little off. As Wide Open Eats explains, however, the green coloration of oysters from North Carolina isn’t a sign of malady in the oysters. Actually, it’s a sign that the oysters have been healthy in at least one way. The green color of these oysters’ gills is a result of feeding on the local algae, which is green. They add that in France, green oysters are actually more desirable than their counterparts lacking that pigment. Oyster Guide addresses the issue of safety directly, explaining that the green coloration is simply an indication of the oyster’s diet. That means if nothing else, the oysters were digesting food properly during their lives.

Wide Open Eats also writes that green oysters have a creamier texture and a stronger brine taste. Atlas Obscura says restaurants within and outside of North Carolina are starting to offer them more widely due to these flavor elements.

While you may not consider green oysters the absolute best oysters in the United States, the color of their gills is no indication of whether they are safe to eat. All oysters regardless of their coloration pose a risk and according to, the only way to ensure safety is to heat them to at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit. Going green in this way poses no greater risk than normal.



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