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What Are The Risks Of Eating Dead Mussels

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If you relish mussels and curious as to what are the risks of eating dead mussels, read on. Mussels are delicious shellfish that are very high in vitamins, omega 3 fatty acids and plenty of proteins. Mussels are easy to prepare at home and can be made into delicious dishes for family and friends. Mussels and all shellfish in general should be eaten fresh. Mussels that do not open even after cooking are dead and are best avoided.


Mussel Food Poisoning


Eating dead mussels can give rise to a number of complications since they can contain poisons. Mussels are prone to bacterial contamination and can cause serious food poisoning episodes like paralytic shellfish poisoning and amnesic shellfish poisoning. Eating dead mussels can cause health problems like headache, vomiting, confusion, diarrhea, loss of memory, disorientation, choking feeling, trouble breathing, slurred speech, burning of mouth, face, arms, legs and neck. In severe cases of eating dead mussels, poisoning can cause coma, seizures and even death. The symptoms usually appear within a span of 30 minutes or after 48hours of eating dead mussels. There is no cure for mussel poisoning but symptoms can be treated on hospitalization. There arises no doubt on – should you eat dead mussels? Certainly Not!


Sometimes the mussels are contaminated with poisonous bacteria or algae. These poisonous algae and bacteria build up in their tissues and can be extremely dangerous. The toxins released by these algae and bacteria do not get eliminated by cooking at high temperatures. The main culprit is the filter feeding mechanism of mussels. Mussels draw in water and filter out their food from the water. Ingested poison producing algae and bacteria is consumed in the process. The toxins get accumulated in the edible flesh of the shellfish. One of the micro-algal toxins named azaspiracids has been recently identified.


Identifying Dead Mussels


  • If there are chips or cracks on the shell, the mussel is dead and not fit to be eaten.

  • If the mussel shell is fully open, it is a dead mussel.

  • Even if the shell of the mussel is partially open, the mussel could be dead. Tap it to see if it closes. Live mussels shut their shells tight on being teased. These are safe to be consumed.



Mussel food poisoning is fatal. Dead mussels disintegrate quickly and deteriorate. Hence eating dead mussels should be avoided at all costs.








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What Are The Risks Of Eating Dead Mussels