Found Worms In Oysters? Everything You Need To Know

February 4, 2017

Did you happen to order raw oysters at a restaurant and found worms on them? Maybe you just bought fresh oysters and are worried about the worms you see lurking in there, or maybe you are just about to get oysters for a recipe you’d like to try out but are worried about worms in oysters. Here, we’re going to help put your mind at ease by telling you everything you need to know about oyster worms. Read on to learn more.

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Oyster Worms

Worms In Oysters

We all know that ocean reefs house countless of organisms, even more than those ones that lands on our plates. Since oysters may be found in these reefs, it really shouldn't come as a surprise to know that they can also suffer from parasites. Many species of marine worms inhabit the outer surfaces of oyster shells. Worms found inside small calcareous tubes which form both on the shell's surfaces and inside the natural holes that are found in the shell.

Marine worms, just like earthworms, often vary in size though usually not more than two inches long. Oysters that are being shipped or transported with very little or almost no washing typically contains worms on their outer shell. Sometimes, even if they shells have been rinsed and washed prior to shipping, there will still be live worms left over which often hides in the tubes, crevices, and holes which a simple wash or rinse can't really get rid of.

How Oyster Worms Get Served On Your Plate

Worms In Oysters

When live oysters are roughly handled, such as with the way they are cleaned and cooked at food service establishments, any of these worms will often make an appearance. To consumers who aren't used to seeing these organisms, it is unquestionably going to be concerning and can be a potential problem for the said establishment.

Are Oyster Worms Harmful?

Worms In Oysters

Worms found in oysters are usually not parasitic, or harmful when ingested. Often, these worms are believed to serve as a protection for the oyster shells. It doesn't really affect the health, quality or taste of oysters itself, nor does it pose any great risks to consumers in terms of health especially if you are careful not to eat it.

Of course, it is better to be safe than sorry. Try to avoid any potential concerns by purchasing oysters from well-reputed seafood suppliers who are known for thoroughly cleaning their stocks before shipping and selling. You should also take your own preventive measures by washing them in cold water, cleaning them, then simply putting them in a bowl and leaving them under running water for about five to ten minutes before serving.

Get rid of any worms that might surface properly, either by flushing them in the drain or pouring hot water over it to make sure they will not be crawling about in your kitchen.

Potential Risks Of Eating Raw Oysters

Worms In Oysters

Raw oysters are very rich in nutrients and are a great source of low-fat protein. But there are risks in eating raw oysters. One of the most well-known risks is the V. Vulnificus infection, an infection acquired from eating seafood. While seafoods are very healthy, generally speaking, Vibrio bacteria can pose serious health risks especially to people who may be suffering from any of these health conditions below:

1. Liver diseases such as hepatitis, cirrhosis, failing liver due to alcoholism, or cancer

2. Iron overload disease, otherwise known as hemochromatosis

3. Diabetes

4. Cancer which also includes lymphomas, leukemia and Hodgkin's disease5. Stomach disorders such as ulcer and hyperacidity

6. Other ailments and undergoing medical treatment resulting to a weakened immune system such HIV infection and AIDS.

Preparing Oysters For Safety

When eating oysters in restaurants, try to avoid eating raw oysters. Order the ones that are fully cooked, unless you are that sure of the restaurant.

1. When Preparing Shelled Oysters At Home

Worms In Oysters
  • Start by discarding any oysters that has open shells
  • Put all oysters in a pot and boil for about three to five minutes until shells have opened.
  • Get rid of any oysters that did not open after boiling

2. Preparing Oysters Without Shells

Worms In Oysters
  • Put oysters in a pot and boil or simmer for about three minutes until you see the meat's edges begin to curl
  • Fry, broil or bake in high heat for at least three minutes, depending on the recipe you are about to make.

Final Words!

Worms In Oysters

Oysters are very nutritious and delicious! Like with any other meat preparations, whether it be beef, pork, chicken or seafood like oysters, proper preparation should be followed to eliminate risks as much as possible. Mind you, even improperly cleaned fruits and vegetables can pose potential health risks.

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