Whether you love ’em or hate ’em, there’s no doubt that oysters are a food to be enjoyed in a variety of ways. They can be eaten raw to experience a briny texture and flavor, or cooked to add a creamy texture to dishes. They can also be lightly grilled, deep-fried or steamed to change up the flavor profile.
In addition, many people enjoy eating them topped with lemon juice or hot sauce, horseradish or tabasco, mignonette or Worcestershire sauce, or other condiments to enhance the natural flavors of this delectable seafood. Eating oysters can even be good for your health! A new study has found that the omega-3 fatty acids found in oysters may prevent the buildup of plaque on artery walls, a condition known as atherosclerosis. (23, 24) And an older test-tube study suggests that a compound in oysters called DHMBA can protect against oxidation of LDL cholesterol, a chemical process linked to heart disease.
However, consuming raw shellfish can increase your risk of getting sick from bacteria, including Vibrio parahaemolyticus and Vibrio vulnificus, that cause foodborne illnesses like Vibriosis. This infection can be particularly serious for certain groups of people, such as the elderly, children, or those with weakened immune systems.
A food establishment that serves raw oysters should have proper sanitation procedures and knowledgeable staff to ensure the safety of their customers. They should regularly test their shellfish for harmful bacteria, and keep them refrigerated at a safe temperature. They should also be clearly labeled with their type of origin, as well as the name of the person who shucked them.