Ta-Ta to Tomalley

If lobster is still on your menu in these days of rising food costs, be sure to leave one part behind on your plate’the tomalley or the soft “green stuff” you find inside a lobster’s cavity. The Food and Drug Administration recently cautioned consumers not to eat tomalley in American (“Maine”) lobster, as it has been found to contain dangerous levels of paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP).

The symptoms of PSP usually appear within two hours of eating affected shellfish and include numbness of the mouth and face, muscle weakness, headache and nausea. PSP can be serious, even leading to respiratory failure and death. Unfortunately, cooking does not kill PSP toxins.

Previous reports have warned of high dioxin levels in tomalley, so although this “ban” ostensibly is temporary, EN thinks it’s wise to always heed the advice.

What to Do. The good news is that lobster meat itself is unaffected; you need only avoid the tomalley, which serves as a lobster’s liver and pancreas. Like the liver of all animals, it filters toxins from the bloodstream, so is a repository for dangerous substances?a good reason not to eat the liver of any animal, delicious or not.

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