What is the “green stuff” you find in the head (“carapace”) of cooked lobsters? And can you eat it?
This is the lobster tomalley, which serves as the lobster’s liver and pancreas. Many people, especially in New England, consider it a delicacy, and eat it along with the rest of the lobster. It is also often used in sauces and stocks which are made from the whole lobster’s body.
But while some people find the tomalley delicious, there are health concerns which should be carefully considered. Since the tomally acts like a liver and pancreas, it is a filter which can accumulate pollutants from the environment.
In 2008, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently warned consumers to avoid eating tomalley from the American Lobster because of potential contamination with dangerous levels of the toxins that cause Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP).
The FDA advisory applies only to the tomalley; the FDA report cited studies that have shown that, even when high levels of PSP toxins are present in lobster tomalley, lobster meat itself is typically unaffected, and that there is no indication that consumers need to be concerned about PSP toxicity in lobster meat.
The FDA recommendation includes lobsters from South Carolina all the way to Northern Canadian coast line. Again, it only refers to the tomalley (the “green stuff”) and not the lobster meat itself.