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CDPH Warns Consumers Not to Eat Sport-Harvested Bivalve Shellfish from Alameda and Contra Costa Counties

Date: March 16, 2018
Number: 18-016
Contact: Corey Egel | 916.440.7259 |
The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is advising consumers not to eat recreationally harvested mussels, clams or whole scallops from Alameda and Contra Costa counties. Dangerous levels of paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) toxins have been detected in mussels from this area. The naturally occurring PSP toxins can cause illness or death in humans. Cooking does not destroy the toxin.
Health Advisories due to PSP are also in place for Sonoma, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, Monterey and San Luis Obispo counties. These health advisories apply to the entirety of the counties including inside the San Francisco Bay.
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.
You can get the most current information on shellfish advisories and quarantines by calling CDPH’s toll-free Shellfish Information Line at (800) 553-4133. For additional information, please visit the CDPH Marine Biotoxin Monitoring Web page.
Download the audio clip from Vanessa Zubkousky-White, Senior Environmental Scientist, California Department of Public Health.
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