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CDPH Lifts Warning about Certain Shellfish from Marin and Ventura Counties

Date: June 4, 2018
Number: 18-032
Contact: Corey Egel | 916.440.7259 |

SACRAMENTO - The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) lifted health advisories today related to sport-harvested bivalve shellfish in Marin and Ventura counties. The advisories are being lifted for whole scallops and all clams. They were issued due to dangerous levels of naturally occurring paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) toxins that can cause illness or death. Recent testing shows PSP toxins have decreased to safe or undetectable levels.

The CDPH warnings against eating sport-harvested clams or whole scallops in the counties of Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz, and Sonoma due to dangerous levels of PSP, and sport-harvested razor clams from Del Norte and Humboldt counties due to dangerous levels of domoic acid, remains in effect. So does the statewide annual quarantine on sport-harvested mussels.

These warnings do 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 or the CDPH Annual Mussel Quarantine - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Web page.

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