Color of Oysters

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Oysters come in a range of different colors.
Oysters come in a range of different colors. (Image: raw oysters in the shell image by Mat Hayward from Fotolia.com)

Oysters vary in color depending on their type and geographic location. The Interstate Shellfish Sanitation Conference advises consumers that oysters of any color are safe to eat so long as they are “harvested from approved waters, packed under sanitary conditions, and properly refrigerated.”

Oyster Shells

The inside of an oyster shell is generally white or pearl-colored. In contrast, the outer shell takes on a range of different hues. Most oyster shells are dark gray, but Cornish Native Oysters are blue, while the Pacific Oyster contains hints of purple, brown, or white.

Oyster shells are often a mixture of colors.
Oyster shells are often a mixture of colors. (Image: oyster image by Edsweb from Fotolia.com)

Oyster Meat

The Maryland Department of Agriculture suggests that healthy oyster meat is “a creamy white to gray color.” However, fresh oysters turn many colors, including red, green, brown and pale yellow.

Oyster meat varies in color.
Oyster meat varies in color. (Image: oysters on a plate image by Lombok from Fotolia.com)

Geography

Environmental conditions in different parts of the world influence oyster color. Oysters change color due to variations in diet, temperature and levels of mineral deposits in seawater. Oysters often appear spotted because algae cling to their shells.

Oysters from different parts of the world take on different colors.
Oysters from different parts of the world take on different colors. (Image: oysters for sale sea food image by david hughes from Fotolia.com)

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