Shellfish Poisoning Alert for central California
Do Not Eat Sport-Harvested Bivalve Shellfish from Monterey Bay and Inner Tomales Bay
The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is advising consumers not to eat recreationally harvested mussels, clams or whole scallops from Monterey Bay or inner Tomales Bay in Marin County. The latter includes the area between Millerton Point and Cypress Point. Dangerous levels of paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) toxins have been detected in mussels from these regions. The naturally occurring PSP toxins can cause illness or death. Cooking does not destroy the toxin.
This warning is in addition to the annual mussel quarantine that was extended on October 31, 2013, for northern Humboldt County. That quarantine remains in effect and applies to the region between the Del Norte-Humboldt county line and the northern jetty at the entrance to Humboldt Bay. Humboldt Bay is not included in the quarantine extension.
This warning does not apply to commercially sold clams, mussels, scallops or oysters from approved sources. State law permits only state-certified commercial shellfish harvesters or dealers to sell these products. Shellfish sold by certified harvesters and dealers are subject to frequent mandatory testing to monitor for toxins.
PSP toxins affect the central nervous system, producing a tingling around the mouth and fingertips within a few minutes to a few hours after eating toxic shellfish. These symptoms are typically followed by loss of balance, lack of muscular coordination, slurred speech and difficulty swallowing. In severe poisonings, complete muscular paralysis and death from asphyxiation can occur.
To receive updated information about shellfish poisoning and quarantines, call CDPH’s toll-free “Shellfish Information Line” at (800) 553-4133.
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