How to Tell if Mussels Are Bad

By Rachel Asher

Mussels are delicious and high in vitamins like B12, but there are plenty of stories about people getting sick after eating shellfish. Shellfish, including mussels, must be impeccably fresh when you eat them, or you will risk getting ill. The primary rule is to eat only mussels that are closed tight when they're in the open air.

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credit: Lark Gillespie
How to Tell if Mussels Are Bad
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credit: Lark Gillespie
How to Tell if Mussels Are Bad

Step 1

Check the shell for chips and breaks. If the shell is broken or smashed in any places, the mussel is dead and will not be safe to eat.

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credit: Lark Gillespie
How to Tell if Mussels Are Bad

Step 2

Look at the opening of the shell. If it is fully open, then the mussel is bad.

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credit: Lark Gillespie
How to Tell if Mussels Are Bad

Step 3

Check if the opening of the shell is partially open. This could be a sign that the mussel is bad.

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credit: Lark Gillespie
How to Tell if Mussels Are Bad

Step 4

Tap the shell if it's partially open. If it closes completely, then the mussel is still alive and it is safe to eat.