Although many people will make a b-line to the raw bar at seafood restaurants, there may be some understandable apprehension about the decision to order raw oysters online. When you are sizing up any retailer’s products, there are a couple of things you should look for during the process.

Whether it is knowing what to expect for the packaging of your shipment or how to tell that your raw oysters are safe to consume upon arrival, preparing to purchase raw oysters is not the time to cut corners.


Are Raw Oysters for Sale Still Alive?

It might be off-putting to learn, but raw oysters are still alive when eaten a majority of the time. When you buy raw oysters, one of the reasons why the oysters are still alive is an attempt to lessen the risk of bacterial contamination. However, some experts do say that contamination is not as great a concern as it is made out to be by consumers.

Still, the primary reason why raw oysters are either sold alive or freshly killed and kept on ice is because it preserves its freshness. Retailers and oyster farmers strive to maintain the original flavor, texture and nutrient density of their products. Not only does it ensure that the integrity of the oyster’s taste withstands delivery, but it also makes the seafood more easily digested.

Shipment Process When You Buy Raw Oysters

Like most seafood, companies and retailers offer overnight delivery for customers purchasing raw oysters. Oysters are also commonly packed and shipped within a Styrofoam container. A company in some cases might do that with an outer cardboard shell. Food-safe gel packs are included with packages to keep the seafood cool during the package’s transit.

There should not necessarily be cause for concern if the gel packs are not frozen upon arrival. The packs typically thaw during transit. As long as they are still cool, the product should likely remain safe for consumption. There are ways to check, though, if the oysters are bad. A fresh oyster is full of clear ocean water. It also possesses a neutral mineral smell. If your package arrives and you encounter any strong or unpleasant smells, you should not eat the oysters raw.

Live Oyster Prices

Company Price/doz Minimum Order Rating Order
Fulton Fish Market $27.76 1 doz 4.4
Crab Place $28.63 1 doz 4.5
Vital Choice $30.00 5 doz 4.8
Global Seafoods $40.00 4 doz 4.6
Get Maine Lobster $75.00 1 doz 4.6

Another common shipment method to expect when you buy raw oysters is the inclusion of a “Time Temperature Indicator” or a temperature sensor. The advanced technology is included with the intention of making sure your oysters do not surpass 45 degrees Fahrenheit for more than two hours during transit. Ultimately, the effectiveness of these temperature sensors will determine the quality of your product.

Past studies indicate that the safest method of transit for these types of seafood products are long-distance trucks. For the shipments, the products are kept at 35 degrees and oftentimes successfully kill off any bacteria. Alternatively, temperature spikes were most common when retailers shipped their products via air travel because even when you buy raw oysters, the air freight companies are not required to guarantee any refrigeration.

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