This week the FDA issued an advisory against the consumption of Maine Lobster tomalley due to dangerous levels of toxins that could lead to Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP).
For clarity, tomalley is the "icky green stuff" in the body cavity of the lobster that acts as the liver and pancreas. Mmmm...
For further clarity, I don't know about you, but the liver of a bottom-feeding crustacean is not at the top of my list of things to eat in the first place. Just think about how your liver felt after a long night of drinking in college and then think about a lobster digesting a nice meal of dead fish and boat fuel before ending up on your plate. Alas, I digress.
The culprit responsible for hindering the consumption of green gooey (questionable) goodness? Likely the result of the summertime gift that keeps on giving, the red tide. Most shellfish and crustaceans store PSP toxins for 6 weeks following a red tide, however some can store it for 2 years.
Just so you know, Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning is no laughing matter. According to the FDA, "Symptoms of PSP include tingling and/or numbness of the mouth, face or neck; muscle weakness; headache; and nausea. In extreme cases, when large amounts of the toxin are consumed, these symptoms can lead to respiratory failure and death. Symptoms usually occur within two hours of exposure to the toxin. Anyone experiencing these symptoms should seek medical attention."
While a lobster's tomalley may be seething with toxins, luckily, the meet remains unaffected, so don that plastic bib and dig in!