I was at Supreme Lobster in Villa Park last weekend, and I spotted some Gold Band Oysters on display. Upon inquiry, I found that they were pasteurized and would keep with refrigeration for up to three weeks (!). The shelf life was of less interest to me than the fact that they were partially cooked to kill bacteria, so I bought a dozen (only about a nickel more each than regular raw oysters).
For years, Ive been hesitant to eat raw oysters some friends of mine became very sick doing so, and although I enjoy the uncooked bivalve, it just doesnt seem worth the risk. I mean, with all the great food out there, why risk eating something that could make you very sick or even dead? So I avoid raw meat, whether of land or sea and I wouldnt eat puffer fish, either (or play Russian Roulette, etc.).
The Wife and I ate the Gold Band Oysters last night, and they were, Im sorry to say, just okay. I guess I shouldnt have been surprised, but the pasteurization process seems to take the edge off the oyster, giving it a less pronounced taste of the deep. Also, although its not supposed to happen, the texture of the Gold Band Oyster seemed smoother than usual, more uniform, almost more slimy. On the upside, they also seemed easier to open (theyre pre-shucked i.e., the shell is lightly loosened and held together with a "gold" plastic band).
So, overall, Gold Band Oysters dont knock me out, but theyre probably the only way I will eat an oyster that hasnt been fried or Rockefellered or cooked and served with huge hunks of bacon a la Zurer.
I include the Gold Band Oyster link below.