Safe Ways to Eat Crab

Fresh crab is a favorite food at many holiday feasts, but some consumers may be wondering about the safety of the shellfish. The recent discovery of marine toxins, such as domoic acid, in the viscera or internal organs of rock crab and Dungeness crab from Alaska has generated concern in the seafood industry. However, cooked crab is probably as safe as any type of cooked animal protein, according to Robert Price, a seafood technology specialist at UC Davis. The nerve toxins, which can cause paralytic shellfish poisoning, have probably been in the crabs all along, but escaped detection because they weren't being monitored, Price says. These toxins occur naturally in the shellfish's viscera, which are usually discarded. Those who enjoy cooking and eating crab should simply take precautions not to eat the viscera, located under the crab's back, and avoid using whole crabs in soups and other dishes.