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Nov 19, 2004 08:55 AM

Oysters full of poop?

  • g

Forgive the first grade headline, but I don't know the technical word for it. I bought 2 dozen "extra extra premium chesapeake oysters" out of the shell from Wegmans for oyster stew last night.

Once everything was together, I detected a strange smell - not spoilage, something else. I tried an oyster to see if it was done and it didn't taste right. So I cut one open and it was literally FULL of poop. FULL. I fished out 3 three more. ALL full of poop.

Now, I mostly eat them raw, and I can never in my life remember seeing SO much waste. Am I in denial? Is this normal? I want to call Wegmans, because they are really good about this sort of thing, but I want to know if this is normal or excessive.


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  1. Not sure if this will answer your question, but there's a small bio lesson on this thread on a local New Orleans food forum. It's about Gulf oysters, though, not sure how they compare to chesapeake. Ok, I've been very helpful. :)


    4 Replies
    1. re: Jess

      Thanks, Jess! I read it but it really didn't tell me what amount of waste is normal, or if cooking "fluffs" it up or whatever. I can only imagine this conversation with the Seafood Manager - whispered, because I'm in a cubicle and the subject matter is, well, what amount of POOP is normal in an oyster. It's pretty funny, but MAN did I want that oyster stew...

      1. re: Ginny

        It's the contents of the stomach, I just found out - like ya'll said, the bigger the oyster... And it adds an almost metallic flavor to them, which is what I detected. Thanks all for your help.

        1. re: Ginny

          I'm relieved that it wasn't the gonads. Sometimes this board is just too informative...

          1. re: butterfly

            True THAT. And Wegman's offered to give me my money back - which I thought was way cool.

    2. I can only guess what you mean by FULL of poop, but I've definitely come across many, many fat oysters that are full of something. (Is it really poop? Actually, I don't want to think about it too much.) So my initial guess is that it's within the realm of normal.

      1. It's difficult to say definitively from your description why your particular oysters seemed different from those you've had in the past, but I think I can perhaps put your mind at ease a bit. If by "poop" you mean fecal material, I'm virtually certain that's not the case - oysters, and bivalve molluscs in general, have a very simple digestive system and there's simply no way anatomically for oysters to accumulate fecal material in their bodies.

        Generally, what makes oysters seem fatter and richer at some times is gonadal tissue - simply put, the majority of the oyster's body is gonad (the "bellies" that people refer to on fried clams are also), and a nice fat oyster is getting ready to spawn. I'd probably say that's what's going on with yours except that spawning in the mid-Atlantic is a springtime activity triggered by rising water temperature, and that's clearly not what's happening this time of year.

        4 Replies
        1. re: FlyFish

          Hey! You guys are full of... knowledge. Man. This is great! The stuff I'm referring to is dark brown in color and all throughout the oyster, and I assumed it was waste because it's similar to the stuff that's inside the vein on shrimp, but in a vast quantity. Maybe I should have taken a photo? Or maybe not...

          1. re: Ginny

            Still sounds like gonadal material to me, except for the timing issue (which I admit I'm no expert on - I know lots more about invertebrate anatomy than I do reproductive physiology).

            1. re: Ginny

              Take a look at the picture in the link below and you will see that it impossible for it to have been poop.


              1. re: Matt

                AH! Gotcha. Thanks!

          2. I was wondering about the green stuff in oysters. First time that I ate oysters, I saw some green stuff and I assumed that it was mold. Then I ordered oysters at 2 other restaurants and there was also some green stuff. So I figured that the green stuff is normal...