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Foodservice -- Storage
How do I store shucked shellfish?
Shucked shellfish must be placed inside a container that clearly identifies the source of product by state and certified dealer number, given to each company by their state shellfish authority. The retailer cannot subdivide a gallon of oysters and place them into smaller containers without the state certification number on it. That is why in the State of North Carolina, retailers must dip the 1/2 point of oysters from the original gallon container in front of the customer.
The reason that restaurants do not have to maintain the empty containers is because the primary use of shucked oysters is to fully cook them.
The reason that there is less risk associaed with shucked oysters is because of the processing method used to collect the meat. The industry typically uses a steam-assisted shucking process where a bushel of oysters is placed in hot water just long enough to cause the animal to die and relax the adductor muscle. This accomplishes two things. It reduces the bacterial load on the outside of the oyster shells, reducing cross-contamination during the shucking of oysters. Secondly, it makes the manual shucking of oysters much easier as the muscle is relaxed enough to open the shells with relative ease. The shucked meat must then be brought down to 32 degrees F within two hours to ensure that no bacteria will still be present.