FARM FRESH OYSTERS
QUALITY AND SAFETY
High quality oysters are carefully grown in California’s coastal and estuarine waters to be enjoyed by millions of residents and visitors alike. Whether eaten fresh on the half shell or simmering on a barbeque, tremendous effort has gone into growing these oysters to provide a delicious, safe, and nutritious product. Oyster growers work closely with the State Department of Health Services to insure that high quality oysters are harvested from clean, approved waters. Like any fresh meat product, oysters require proper care to maintain flavor, texture, and product safety by controlling bacterial growth. After purchase, it is the consumer’s responsibility to properly handle shellfish to maintain these qualities. This bulletin will provide information to help you maintain your live shellfish so you can enjoy a safe, nutritious product—and the qualities freshness provides.
1. Shellfish should be kept cold until prepared.
2. Store live shellfish on ice or in refrigeration, ideally between 35–37° F (1.7–2.8° C).
3. Do not store shellfish in airtight containers.
4. Drain ice water (shellfish submerged in fresh water for long will die).
5. Store chilled oysters cup side down to conserve liquor.
6. Live clams, oysters, and mussels should have tightly closed shells. Shellfish that will not close tightly when tapped should be discarded.
7. Do not store shellfish in water (storage in seawater without filtration shortens their shelf life and can allow bacteria to proliferate).
8. Keep shucked, on-the-half-shell oysters chilled until eaten.