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Foods -- Seafood

Is it all right to cook dead crabs?

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The simple answer would be 'No, don't cook dead crabs.' But in some instances it may be acceptable. If you purchase or catch live crabs and you make an effort to keep the animals cool and moist until they are cooked (no more than 4 to 5 hours later), it is okay to cook all of the crabs, even if some have died. If you have no information on how the crabs have been handled, it is safest to cook only the live ones.

The best way to transport live crabs and other shellfish is to put them in an insulated container. However, put something like burlap, cloth, or newspaper between the animals and the ice. Direct contact with ice will kill crabs, oysters, and clams.

SOURCE: Donn Ward, Ph.D., Joyce Taylor, and David Green, Ph.D., Department of Food Science, NC State University

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