WISCASSET – Crustacean organs rarely make big news.

Unless you are talking about the American lobsters’ liver/pancreas, which the Food and Drug Administration warned diners last week to stop eating because of red tide toxicity.

Mainers have greeted that announcement with great gasps, as imbibing the guacamole-like goo known as tomalley is a point of local pride.

“I like it in seafood stuffing,” said Frank Sprague who owns a lobster shack in this picturesque coastal village.

“You can eat it with a spoon too, but it’s pretty rich.”

Tourist Terry Hollar of Milford, Ind., enjoyed a 1.25-lb. lobster at one Sprague’s picnic tables earlier this week, but shed no tears over skipping the tomalley. “I can’t even really stand to look at it,” he said. “It makes me sick.”

According to FDA, “sick” might not be hyperbole, as the toxins can cause symptoms as severe as death, although nothing so dramatic has occurred.

In fact, fishers report that blooms of red tide algae are already disappearing this week.

Thus to the delight of Mainers: Tomalley shall soon return.

(c) 2008, Chicago Tribune.

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Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

AP-NY-08-07-08 1922EDT

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