Rhode Island DoH Reminds People To Eat Lobsters Safely

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture

Maine’s Department of Health and Human Services, Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Maine CDC) reported that recent test results show higher levels of the toxin that causes paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) in the tomalley of some lobsters. Maine lobsters are distributed in Rhode Island, so the Department of Health (HEALTH) is reminding people to follow a long-established safety precaution when eating lobster: Do not eat the tomalley.


Tomalley is the soft, green substance inside the lobster.

Lobster meat is still safe to eat. The tomalley in the lobster is a natural filter for any toxins that are in the water, and New England coastal waters currently have high PSP levels because of summertime algae blooms. The best thing to do is to scrape the tomalley off the lobster meat and do not eat it.

Symptoms of PSP (red tide poisoning) include tingling and/or numbness of the mouth, face or neck; muscle weakness; headaches and nausea. In extreme cases, these symptoms can lead to respiratory failure. Symptoms usually occur within two hours of eating contaminated food. Anyone who has eaten lobster tomalley and experiences these symptoms should seek immediate medical attention.

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