Have people been poisoned by eating lobsters that were allowed to die before being cooked?
Lobsters are not poisonous if they die before cooking, but cooking should not be delayed. Many lobsters sold commercially are killed and frozen before cooking. Lobsters and other crustaceans do spoil rapidly after death, which is why many buyers insist on receiving them alive. If the lobster is "headed" before or soon after death, the body meat will keep fresh longer. This is because the so-called head includes the thorax, the site of most of the viscera and gills, which spoil much more rapidly than claw or tail meat. Freezing slows deteriorative changes and harmful chemical actions that follow death.