Open shucked oysters next to lemon and sauce
It Isn't Actually Safer To Consume Oysters During 'R' Months
The belief that oysters are safer to eat during months containing the letter 'R' emerged in the colonial era when shellfish had a higher risk of spoilage under warm temperatures.
The vibrio virus linked with expired raw shellfish historically affected oysters during summer months, making them unsafe. However, harvesting oysters is now possible year-round.
The emergence of triploid oyster stocks, which breed oysters not to be reproductive, now results in faster growth and a delectable flavor even when harvested in warmer weather.
Triploid refers to the number of chromosome sets an oyster has. Diploid oysters have two sets of chromosomes, while the triploid has three, rendering triploid oysters rare.
While most oysters are often weak during the months when they mate, triploid ones, spending less energy reproducing, turn out to be plump and tasty.
Triploid oysters are not genetically modified organisms, which cannot be found in nature. They’re actually a reproduction of a very rare type of oyster that does exist in the wild.
To ensure oysters can be safely enjoyed all year, oyster producers and regulatory agencies have notably reduced the risk of bacterial contamination by implementing strict measures.
Those measures include regular water quality monitoring, thorough pathogen testing, strict adherence to harvesting protocols, and the new reproductive tactics of triploid oysters.