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North American Food Q&A




Q.  When it is safe to eat shellfish?




Q.  I've heard that you can eat oysters in any month that has an 'r' in it.  Is this true for shellfish that comes from New Orleans and other U.S. cities, or is it for Europe only?



A.  The whole 'r' month problem is generally becoming obsolete these days.  It used to be that before refrigerated shipping was the norm, you'd have to stick to oysters, mussels and snails harvested during Fall, Winter and Spring.  Summer was a problem because bacteria levels were higher then in these creatures.  Nowadays, the only issue is for people with shellfish sensitivities.  Of course, cooked shellfish are usually safer to eat than raw or partially cooked.  As for crustaceans (like lobsters, crabs, prawns and shrimp), these will have various molting seasons.  Pay attention to what the specials and 'catches of the day' are- these are normally things that are caught in season.  Of course, double check with the waiter whether this is the case.









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