Is it safe to eat these oysters?
November 22, 2017 8:46 AM   Subscribe

Two weeks ago, my mother bought two pints of oysters at Costco. They look just like this. The "Sell By" date is today, and we're planning to cook them in a casserole for Thanksgiving dinner (tomorrow). I'm not worried about being one day past the "Sell" date, but I am worried that she bought them two weeks ago! They've been refrigerated the whole time, and the containers are sealed. The plastic lids are very slightly convex, though. Should I toss them out, or are they safe to cook and eat? Thanks for informed advice!
posted by barefoot to Food & Drink (12 answers total)
Not a chance I would eat two week old fresh oysters in any condition.
posted by so fucking future at 8:53 AM on November 22, 2017 [15 favorites]

Sell-by dates are often conservative and before the best-by date so if today is the sell by date, then I would expect the product to still be good for a few days at least. The only caveat is if they have been kept in proper conditions like a commercial refrigerator close to 32 degrees. I vote eat but do not keep leftovers for long.
posted by RoadScholar at 9:00 AM on November 22, 2017 [5 favorites]

They're packed in brine and sealed; this is actually a pretty common way to sell shucked oysters. You certainly wouldn't want to eat them raw but I wouldn't worry about cooking with 'em.
posted by aspersioncast at 9:04 AM on November 22, 2017 [7 favorites]

If you're 100% sure the fridge they've been kept in is running a the right temps (a lot of home fridges aren't kept cold enough) I'd be fine eating them one day after the sell by.
posted by wwax at 9:12 AM on November 22, 2017 [1 favorite]

Just anecdotally, ever since the e coli beef recall several years ago, Costco has tended towards being very conservative with sell by and consume by dates on their raw protein packaging. (This might be A Thing but I don't know, I just notice Costco vs other places I shop.) So if they say sell by x I'd generally trust that. (I was just at Costco last night, and they had these oysters out between their other holiday stock in the protein department. I don't think anyone's suggesting to eat them raw on crackers, I'd guess they're there for baking into things like oyster dressing, and for that I'm sure your oysters are fine.)

However of course, like other people have said, that doesn't take into account how they were stored/transported over the last 2 weeks, and this also is a 3rd party product and not something Costco/Kirkland is selling directly.
posted by phunniemee at 9:13 AM on November 22, 2017 [1 favorite]

It is not worth the risk, man.
posted by captainscared at 10:19 AM on November 22, 2017 [1 favorite]

I would toss them in a heartbeat. Sick-from-bad-seafood is a special kind of unearthly hell.
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 10:27 AM on November 22, 2017 [2 favorites]

I'm familiar with this product from a professional standpoint. I think it's OK... but just call them and ask!!

posted by jbenben at 11:16 AM on November 22, 2017 [3 favorites]

To further explain, safety-wise I think you are OK, flavor and texture might be compromised at this point. Your home fridge is probably not at 38 degrees.

I'm 99% sure there is minimal to zero risk of fibrio (the germ that makes you sick from oysters) because the water they were harvested from is too cold this time of year + WA harvesters usually test regularly to avoid an outbreak - but again just call them and ask!

Please update if you find out! Cheers!!
posted by jbenben at 11:22 AM on November 22, 2017 [1 favorite]

I wouldn't eat it.

But I'm also from Louisiana, and I refuse to eat Oysters when I cannot see the body of water they came out of.
posted by AlexiaSky at 5:28 PM on November 22, 2017

Thanks so much for everyone's replies—greatly appreciated! I decided to open one container and smell it—but when I did, I noticed that not only was the outer lid a bit convex, but the inner seal was so firmly puffed out that I couldn't peel it open and had to use a knife. The oysters smelled normal and briny (in a good way), but it didn't seem worth the risk and the worry. So we ended up pitching them. I have some regrets, but I think that's better than the worry I'd have all through Thanksgiving dinner (and certainly nothing like the regret I'd have if I made everyone sick!).

I do wish I'd seen the suggestions to call the company before I pitched them—that was a good idea. Ah well.

Again, many thanks!
posted by barefoot at 5:43 PM on November 22, 2017 [1 favorite]

Another former Louisianian oyster lover here. I would eat them in a cooked dish for sure if they pass the smell test. Raw, no way. I don't necessarily think it's dangerous, but raw oysters should be eaten fresh for taste/texture reasons.
posted by bradbane at 12:37 PM on November 23, 2017 [1 favorite]

« Older After school program supervisor grabbed my son by...   |   How can I hire a locksmith in Brooklyn to open... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.