Eating Oysters

Most of the foods I like to eat would be considered your basics. Good bread, fresh vegetables, fruit in season, but there is one delicacy that I will occasionally eat… just as a treat. And that would be Gulf oysters.

Oysters can be eaten in a variety of ways, but did you know that there can be distinct variations in the taste of an oyster, depending on the variety of oyster and where it was grown? So when I am going to eat oysters I prefer raw oysters with just a dash of lemon.

There is some concern, however, when eating raw oysters. Oysters grow best in warm unpolluted waters, just like a little nasty bacterium called Vibrio vulnificus. Most healthy people have no problems with this bacterium and can safely eat raw oysters. Just the same, I was happy to find that there is some post-harvest processes that can reduce the incidence of Vibrio vulnificus to undetectable levels. These processes include individual quick-freezing, heat-cool pasteurization (HCP), and high-hydrostatic pressure (HPP).

The next time I decide to treat myself to oysters I think I will look for those that have used one of these post-harvest processes. I am pretty healthy and probably don’t have much to worry about, but a little extra safety is OK by me!

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