The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is warning consumers not to eat sport-harvested shellfish or some parts of crustaceans or small finfish from offshore the Channel Islands. Elevated levels of the toxin, domoic acid, has been detected in recent samples of mussels, clams, scallops, and the viscera of lobster and crab. Domoic acid can be harmful to people.
This warning does not apply to commercially sold clams, mussels, scallops or oysters. State law only permits state-certified commercial shellfish harvester or dealer to sell these products. Shellfish sold by certified harvesters and dealers are subject to frequent mandatory testing.
No cases of human poisoning from domoic acid are known to have occurred in California.
Symptoms of domoic acid poisoning can occur within 30 minutes to 24 hours after eating toxic seafood. In mild cases, symptoms may include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, headache and dizziness. These symptoms disappear within several days. In severe cases, the victim may experience difficulty breathing, confusion, disorientation, cardiovascular instability, seizures, excessive bronchial secretions, permanent loss of short‑term memory, coma and death.
To receive updated information about shellfish poisoning and quarantines, call CDPH toll-free “Shellfish Information Line” at (800) 553-4133.