They’re a popular delicacy across the world and considered an aphrodisiac by many.
But while lots of people enjoy eating oysters, it seems there’s one thing people don’t really know about them.
And that’s that raw oysters, the kind served on ice with a wedge of lemon, are still alive.
It’s no secret, but it’s something that people are still disturbed to learn.
Learning the truth has led to lots of questions on social media, including if oysters feel pain when we eat them.
One person wrote on Twitter: “Just read that raw oysters are still alive when you eat. Thank god I don’t eat shellfish.”
Another added: “I just found out that oysters are alive when you eat them and I feel really guilty I’m gonna cry.”
Despite the fact that it sounds incredibly gross and cruel, it’s actually better for you to eat them in this way.
That’s because dead oysters which are eaten raw can contain bacteria that is harmful to humans and can make us ill – with symptoms including a fever, vomiting and diarrhea.
Do oysters feel pain when you eat them?
Seafish , an organisation set up to raise standards in the seafood industry, say that the debate of whether or not oysters feel pain is still ongoing.
A spokesman told Metro: “Unfortunately there’s no definitive proof either way.
“There are groups that argue oysters might feel pain, and others who say because they don’t have a central nervous system then they don’t feel pain in the way other seafood species might. We currently don’t have research in this area.”
When do they die?
As for when exactly they die, this is also up for debate – is it when they are shucked? Or when you eat them?
Seafish have a theory about this as well.
“This is likely to happen when they are shucked, rather than when they are chewed or swallowed.”
They think this because an oyster’s heart is right next to the bottom adductor muscle, so separating it from the shell kills it.
How can I tell if an oyster is dead?
If an oyster is dead it should be eaten cooked, not raw, or it could make you very ill.
Recently a 71-year-old man died from contracting a flesh-eating bacteria from a dead oyster.
So how do you avoid making this mistake?
There’s an easy way to check whether the oyster is alive – and it’s all to do with the shell.
If the shell is tightly closed then the oyster inside should be alive.
If the shell is ajar slightly, give it a light flick. If it closes, the oyster is alive.
If the shell doesn’t close, then most likely it is dead and needs to be cooked.
Oysters aren’t the only food that people eat while it’s still alive.
Other foods include shrimp, sea urchins and octopus – though these can also be eaten cooked as well.