How to Read a Shellfish Harvest Tag

Have you ever been at a seafood counter and wondered how fresh the oysters are or where exactly they were harvested from? We’ll let you in on a secret: you can ask for the shellfish harvest tag. Retailers and restaurants are required by law to keep this on file for 90 days in case of recalls or illness, so they should be able to readily produce the tag for the oyster you’re inspecting.

When you look at the oyster tag, it will list the original harvest date and harvest location of the oyster. If properly stored and handled, oysters can have a shelf life of up to 2-3 weeks, but the closer to the harvest date they are eaten, the better they will taste.

We’ve certainly seen seafood displays where oysters were clearly mislabeled, so sometimes it pays to ask!