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Monday, June 13, 2005 

I Want Fried Clams!

Living in New England as I do, a summertime staple is the fried clam. Not just any fried clam, of course, but those ones that you find at only certain locations, near the coast, likely a bit away from the hustle and bustle of a major highway.

If you want your fried clams this summer however, be prepared to look harder, or to pay dearly for your craving. The reason? Red Tide.

Julia Moskin has the story in the New York Times today looking at the situation, and the effect it is having all up and down the East coast. It also reveals why Canadian and Maryland Clams just aren't cutting it among New Englanders. Beth Daley in the Boston Globe has more on the Red Tide outbreak, which is the worst ever, and the likes of which have not been seen since 1972.

What is Red Tide? The Globe article tells us:

The red tide, which has yet to take on its signature red-brown color, is made up of vast numbers of single-celled organisms that began an exponential growth explosion offshore last month. While swimming is safe, the algae's toxins, which concentrate over time in shellfish meat, can cause illness or even death if consumed in enough quantity. It does not affect lobsters, crabs, shrimp, or finned fish. The part of the scallop people eat in New England -- the adductor muscle -- does not retain the toxin and is safe to eat.

This USA Today article tells us more about what has caused this unprecedented outbreak.