Shellfish safety tips

To the Editor:

Summer is the season that Mainers and visitors enjoy delicious, locally harvested shellfish such as clams, oysters and mussels.

Ensuring that everyone can enjoy these Maine delicacies in good health is the responsibility of the Maine Department of Marine Resources (DMR) Public Health Bureau. Following is some important information for folks who buy Maine shellfish to enjoy at home or who head to a nearby shore to harvest their own.

To carefully manage Maine’s shellfish resources such as clams, mussels and oysters, the DMR has a rigorous monitoring program that ensures public health and safety. Thousands of samples of shellfish are collected each year from the entire Maine coast and tested at FDA-approved labs.

The DMR conducts a dealer inspection program that ensures that all licensed wholesale shellfish dealers meet the thorough standards outlined by the National Shellfish Sanitation Program. By making sure wholesale shellfish dealers meet these standards, the department ensures the safety and wholesomeness of Maine shellfish throughout the distribution chain.

Recreational harvesters always should check the status of an area where they plan to take shellfish immediately before they harvest. The DMR website, local Marine Patrol officers or local municipal offices will have the latest information on areas that are open for harvesting.

And if you decide to harvest your own clams or mussels, never soak or store them off your dock or boat. Keep shellfish refrigerated until consumed. Visit

Kohl Kanwit

Director of the Maine Department of Marine Resources Public Health Bureau


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