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CDPH Lifts Warnings about Certain Shellfish from Humboldt County

Date: November 19, 2019
Number: SN19-014
Contact:  Corey Egel | 916.440.7259 | CDPH Marine Biotoxin Monitoring Program

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has lifted the shellfish safety notification today related to sport-harvested mussels, whole scallops, and clams (other than razor clams) in Humboldt County. The safety notification was issued due to dangerous levels of naturally occurring domoic acid, also referred to as Amnesic Shellfish Poisoning (ASP), that can cause illness or death. Recent testing shows concentrations of domoic acid are now at safe or undetectable levels for bivalve shellfish other than razor clams.

The warnings against eating sport-harvested bivalve shellfish (including mussels, clams, and whole scallops) from Mendocino County and sport-harvested razor clams in Del Norte and Humboldt counties remain in effect, due to continued elevated levels of domoic acid.

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.

Symptoms of ASP 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 ASP from domoic acid are known to have occurred in California.

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

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