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I was just at my local market and found out that when lobsters in their tank die they take them out, cook them and then sell them whole cooked chilled for a decent price---but they never mention their early demise. Is this legal? Is this safe? I'm from New England and I can't imagine that it's ok. What do you all think?

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  1. I don't know about the legality of it, but it's the definitive reason why I NEVER buy pre-cooked lobsters (or crabs for that matter), unless I've chosen them live myself & watched while they're steamed for me.

    1. Yowsa. Yet another reason not to eat another protein. I may become a vegetarian yet.

      1. Why shouldn't they be safe or illegal?
        At Chinese markets I see dead lobsters and crabs (they aren't cooked)sold all the time at half price.

        1. Did the guy at the market also tell you that before the rotoisserie chicken craze, the roto chickens were old chicken they couldn't sell uncooked?

          1. I won't buy 'em dead. I prefer a Mike Tyson to a Twiggy habitating in that shell.

            1. Been there, done that. I believe you have at least 24 hours until they really start to deteriorate. That said, I do prefer them alive and lively, but will always grab some cull legs at my fish store of I get there early, and if my live lobster has an early demise, I just throw it in the pot asap. Don't worry, it is safe, and lobster at a cheap price makes my day every time,

              3 Replies
              1. re: coll

                That pretty much sums it up, coll. In my experience, a dead lobster can be cooked and eaten without worry for at least 12 hours. When one has turned, it emits an ammonia odor that is easy to recognize. (Off subject, but I've been getting soft shells (live) for only $2.99 a pound.)

                1. re: MGZ

                  Ok that's fine IF the lobster died by accident (a rock dropped on it in the tank) or murder (psychopathic tank-mate). But what if it had been a sick lobster and just died in the tank from whatever makes lobsters sick? I'm sorry but I am NOT eating that lobster cooked or otherwise. You cannot legally sell a chicken or beef or any other animal that has died from unknown causes. Period. You shouldn't cook and sell a lobster that just plain died. Not sure what the law is around that but I personally wouldn't buy it.

                  1. re: Nyleve

                    Then, by all means don't. Hell, I understand. I'm a guy who prefers to measure the freshness of fish by the number of beers I've had since I removed the hook.

                    That being said, lobsters will die naturally in tanks. There is a window in which their meat is fine to eat. If a monger can salvage some of her loss, than let her. (I'm sure the same thing happens in restaurants, canned bisques, etc.)

              2. i've heard of this practice and it's the reason i will never buy store-made lobster salad. in the business these are known as "sleepers".

                2 Replies
                1. re: ScubaSteve

                  Ever notice the "Rage" in seafood markets selling house smoked fish spread.....Guess what..... old fish, you know sunken dried out eyeballs, slimy skin etc. Well, when smoked one cannot tell that the fish used had an off smell!!!!!!YUM YUM. Smoke your own from nice fresh fish.

                  1. re: ospreycove

                    if only i could. one of the pitfalls of highrise living.

                2. If you think about it...
                  how do you know how the shrimp you buy died or the chickens or anything else for that matter

                  people like killing their own lobsters but not other animals

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: kpaxonite

                    Lobsters in particular decay rapidly after death, some enzyme or something. Not the same as other meats that can be held on ice for days or need to hang as with game.