Lobster is arguably one of the world’s most coveted delicacies. Often praised as a luxurious and indulgent food due to its rich and succulent meat. Lobster has a unique flavor and texture that make it a very popular choice among seafood lovers.

Whether grilled, steamed, or boiled, lobster meat is as versatile as it is delicious.

Sometimes, however, lobster will give off an off-putting smell. More specifically, lobster sometimes smells like ammonia. We are going to explore this weird phenomenon and answer some common questions asked by people unfortunate enough to run into this frustrating occurrence.

What causes lobster meat to smell like this, and, most importantly, what if you eat some lobster that smells like ammonia?

Understanding Ammonia Smells In Lobster Meat

Lobster meat has a delicate sweetness to it, and should smell mildly briny. The smell of good lobster meat should subtly remind you of the ocean. This means that if your lobster has an ammonia-like smell it should be taken as a sure sign that it has gone off.

This is because ammonia is a direct byproduct of the breakdown of nitrogen-containing compounds by bacteria. When bacteria break down these compounds, they release nitrogen in the form of ammonia gas, which produces a strong, and very pungent odor.

To keep this short and sweet, if your lobster smells or tastes like ammonia it has very likely spoiled. So,

What If You Ate Lobster That Had An Ammonia Smell?

If you eat lobster meat that has an ammonia smell you will most likely get sick. Eating spoiled lobster that smells like ammonia can easily lead to serious food poisoning.

According to the CDC’s food poisoning website, this can cause a range of uncomfortable and potentially dangerous symptoms such as diarrhea, stomach pain, cramps, nausea, vomiting, and fever.

Therefore, I recommend that you avoid eating lobster meat that smells like ammonia, whether at home or at a restaurant, it is not safe to eat.

If you buy fresh lobster tail that smells like ammonia while raw, or frozen lobster that begins to smell like ammonia as soon as you cook it, discard the meat immediately.

But why would a good lobster spoil?

What Causes Lobster to Spoil And Smell Like Ammonia?

What Causes Lobster to Spoil And Smell Like Ammonia?

In most cases, poor handling and improper storage are the primary reasons that lobster meat spoils and ends up smelling like ammonia.

If you want your lobster meat to remain fresh and safe to consume, make sure that you handle and store it properly. For example, if lobster is left at room temperature for too long, or stored in conditions that are either too warm or too humid, it will quickly go bad and develop an ammonia smell.

Another common reason why lobster meat spoils is cross-contamination during harvesting, processing, and preparation.

How to Tell If Your Lobster Has Spoiled?

Besides a strong ammonia odor, there are other signs of spoilage that you can look for to avoid lobster-induced food poisoning. In addition to the ammonia smell, bad lobster meat will often have a mushy, cottage cheese-like consistency. Other signs to look for are a slimy texture or discolored meat.

Avoid consuming lobster meat that meets any of the criteria above.

Proper storage of lobster will prevent spoiling

How to Properly Store and Handle Your Lobster

To avoid spoilage and ensure the freshness of your lobster, it is important that you purchase your lobster from reputable sources exclusively.

You should also consume your lobster meat as soon as possible after purchase for the best experience. If you are not able to consume the lobster meat within a day or two of purchase, it is best to freeze it until you are ready to consume it.

According to the Lobster Council of Canada, the frozen lobster will keep for up to nine months with no noticeable loss of quality.

If you are going to store your lobster in the refrigerator, keep it sealed tightly in an airtight container, making sure that the temperature never rises above 38 degrees Fahrenheit. Cooked lobster will keep for three days if stored in this manner.

When handling lobster meat, make sure to keep it clean and avoid cross-contamination with other foods in your kitchen. As always, it is extremely important that you wash your hands and any utensils that you plan on using on your lobster.

Avoid Eating Lobster That Smells Like Ammonia

If your lobster smells like ammonia, you should avoid eating it to prevent a potentially dangerous case of food poisoning.

To ensure that your lobster meat stays fresh, make sure that you purchase it from a respectable and trustworthy source. You should also take care to store it properly, and consume it as quickly as possible after purchase unless you freeze it to consume later. When handling and preparing lobster meat, make sure that you follow property sanitary guidelines

Do this and your lobster meat will retain its naturally sweet smell and delicious flavor.