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 ​Consumers Urged Not to Eat Sport-Harvested Bivalve Shellfish From Los Angeles County

Date: June 6, 2017
Number: 17-051
Contact: Corey Egel- (916) 440-7259

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is advising consumers not to eat recreationally harvested bivalve shellfish including mussels, clams or whole scallops from Los Angeles County. Dangerous levels of domoic acid have been detected in mussels from this region. This naturally occurring toxin can cause Amnesic Shellfish Poisoning (ASP) and possibly lead to illness or death in humans.

This health advisory is in addition to the annual mussel quarantine issued May 1. The annual quarantine applies to all species of mussels harvested along the California coast, as well as all bays and estuaries, and will continue through at least October 31. 

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 trouble breathing, confusion, disorientation, cardiovascular instability, seizures, excessive bronchial secretions, permanent loss of short term memory, coma or death. No cases of human poisoning from domoic acid are known to have occurred in California.

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.

The most current information on shellfish advisories and quarantines is available by calling CDPH’s toll-free Shellfish Information Line at (800) 553-4133. For additional information, please visit the CDPH Marine Biotoxin Monitoring Program Web page. 

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