How to Tell if Shellfish is Bad? | 5 Signs You Shouldn’t Eat It

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Shellfish can be a delicious part of your diet, but you want to make sure it is safe for consumption. There are many ways that you may know if the shellfish has gone bad and these include: change in color, off smell, and slimy texture.


Shellfish is a term merging a variety of seafood, including crustaceans and mollusks. Crabs, shrimps, crabs, oysters, mussels, among others, are excellent protein supplements that are popular among most seafood enthusiasts.

Besides, they supply minerals including zinc and iron, and therefore, adding shellfish to your diet boosts your gross nutrient intake.

However, getting the freshest shellfish is essential. Shellfish is a delicious food, but it can cause some people to get sick if they eat it. Knowing how to tell if shellfish is bad will help you avoid this! If your seafood smells rotten or has an off-color, don’t eat them. They may be spoiled or have been sitting out for too long and gone bad.

We’ve put down various ways on how to tell if shellfish is bad

How do you know if shellfish is bad? It’s a question that many people don’t know the answer to, but it has big implications for your health.

Shellfish can carry bacteria and viruses that are harmful to humans, so knowing when they go bad is important. In this blog post, we will discuss 4 ways to tell if shellfish is going bad, as well as how to correctly store shellfish.

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1. Discoloration

Clams, Mussels, and Oysters should appear fresh in their natural colors. Fresh mussels should have a lustrous texture and dark in color, with no secondary surface hues. Also, clams should be white with a variation of shades that resemble grey, and the insides of oysters should be generally white. Any variation different from this indicates that they are spoilt, and you should avoid them whatsoever.

2. They have a foul smell

Shellfish should smell like the ocean fresh and salty. Fishy smells are a clear indication of decay. Ideally, spoiled shellfish is a suitable medium for bacterial growth and is detrimental to your health when consumed. Foul odors from shellfish are a nagging reminder that you should avoid them since they are also likely to cause health complications when consumed.

3. Shells are cracked or broken

Broken and cracked shells indicate that shellfish are downright lifeless. Clams feed by filtration through their shells, while mussels feed by siphoning food from water columns. Any signs of deformity suggest that the shellfish could have died a while ago and are not fresh for meals.

4. They are slimy

Sliminess indicates that the shellfish are decayed and therefore unsuitable for consumption. This state can be irritable as well and can make cooking a bit odd. Besides, you don’t want to cook slimy shellfish that will make you sick.

How to correctly store shellfish

It would be best if you stored shellfish while they are alive. A conventional method is putting them on ice and covering them with thin clothing. Most shellfish can survive on ice for some time, but ensure you cook them before they die and start going bad. However, preparing them immediately after you buy them is ideal.

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Lobsters and crabs shouldn’t worry you either. They have longer lifespans out of the water and can remain fresh for up to 24 to 48 hours. Putting them in ice or refrigerating them will also keep them fresh for long, but don’t delay cooking them because they are typically perishable.

Final Thoughts

Like other types of fish, shellfish are a great supplement of essential nutrients and elements for the body. Consuming them also boosts your body’s immunity function, and this is vital in fending off diseases.

However, eating them when spoiled can increase the risk of infections which are detrimental to your health. Choosing the freshest shellfish for dinner also gives you the aesthetic advantage of enjoying your meals.

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