July 29, 2008

Things That Make You Go "Well, Duuuuh...!"


FDA - Don't Eat The Green Crap From A Lobstah:

July 28, 2008 -- The FDA today warned consumers to avoid eating tomalley in American lobster (also called Maine lobster) because of a potential contamination of dangerous levels of toxins that can cause paralytic shellfish poisoning, which can be fatal.

The warning only applies to tomalley, the soft, green substance found in the lobster body cavity that functions as the liver and pancreas.

American lobster, or Maine lobster, are harvested from the waters of the Atlantic Ocean from northeastern Canada to South Carolina. The FDA's warning applies regardless of where that lobster was harvested.

Cooking doesn't eliminate the paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) toxins. But studies have shown that even when lobster tomalley has high levels of PSP, lobster meat itself is typically unaffected, according to the FDA.

Symptoms of PSP include tingling and/or numbness of the mouth, face, or neck; muscle weakness; headache; and nausea. In extreme cases, when large amounts of toxin are consumed, these symptoms can lead to respiratory failure and death.

Symptoms usually occur within two hours of exposure to the toxin; seek medical attention if any symptoms arise.

PSP toxins normally occur from time to time in clams and other shellfish and are carefully monitored by state regulatory authorities, according to the FDA, which learned of the problem after officials in Maine and New Hampshire found dangerous levels of the toxins in lobster tomalley. Some shellfish beds have been closed in recent months due to elevated levels of PSP toxins.

Lobster tomalley normally doesn't contain dangerous levels of PSP toxins. The current high levels of PSP toxins likely are linked to an ongoing red tide episode in northern New England and eastern Canada, notes the FDA.

Like I was going to anyway. I know - or at least I've heard tell - that some people consider the stuff a delicacy, but I've always thought the mere idea of eating lobstah pancreas quite disgusting.

Posted by Robert at July 29, 2008 01:21 PM | TrackBack

Darn. I love that stuff. *sigh* Another summer pleasure; gone.

Posted by: rp at July 29, 2008 01:27 PM

Well, look at it this way - if you cut out the tomalley, you can justify helping yourself to another claw or two. Seems like a sweet trade to me!

Posted by: Robbo the LB at July 29, 2008 01:45 PM

Tomalley is the pancreas? Hmm. I always thought it was poop, so I avoid it. It looks like the poop my son leaves in his diaper when he eats a lot of Gerber's Smushed Peas.

My friends and family all make fun of me for studiously avoiding that black line running down the middle of the shrimp. I always tell them: "It's poop for Chrissakes!"

Posted by: Juvenal at July 29, 2008 09:36 PM