The meat content is the best indicator of the oyster quality.
The meat content varies with sites but also depends of the amount of feed in the water, time of year, position of the oysters on the shore and densities on site. Correct grading of oysters is essential to ensure the customer’s requirements are always met. Consistency in the grading is crucial and particular attention should be brought to this criteria, as requirements are getting more and more demanding.
The aim of grading is to divide oysters into seperate size catagories. The customers will specify the grade of oysters they are looking for. The most sought after oysters would have perfectly clean, nacreous shell and the edge of the mantle should be black and the meat white.
Shape of an oyster...
The shape of an oyster is determined by the amount and quality of handling and by the techniques used, such as frequency in grading, turning bags, densities in bags etc.
The shape of an oyster should be similar to a tear drop. The depth of an oyster is important to allow scope for better meat content. The upper shell should be flat and the hinge should be straight. Good shaped oysters will be destined for the higher end of the market.