Eat or Donate?
Decades of excess runoff of silt and sediment, historical overfishing and disease severely impacted native oyster reefs. Oysters are a keystone species because they filter nitrogen and phosphorus from the water, and serve as critical habitat for the underwater community. Properly functioning and resilient ecosystems reduce risks to our health, benefit our local economy and preserve our natural resources, not only today, but for generations to come.
But should you eat or donate the oysters you grow?
If you are unsure of the water quality – we suggest that you donate the oysters to an oyster sanctuary. You will be helping the local ecosystem. If you do decide to eat your oysters, the oyster shells can be used to build new oyster reefs. Each recycled shell can eventually become home to more than a dozen baby oysters, called spat. The donate shells are cleaned and placed into tanks containing millions of microscopic oyster larvae, which then attach to the shells.
Can you tell if a raw oyster is bad?
No, an oyster that contains harmful bacteria or viruses does not look, smell or even taste different from any other oyster.
Zapco strongly recommends checking with local authorities about the safety of eating oysters prior to consuming.