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CDPH Lifts Warnings about Certain Shellfish from Santa Cruz and Monterey  Counties 

Date: September 29, 2020
Number: SN20-004
Contact: CDPHpress@cdph.ca.gov | CDPH Marine Biotoxin Monitoring Program


SACRAMENTO - The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has lifted the July 1, 2020 shellfish safety notification today related to sport-harvested clams and whole scallops in Santa Cruz and Monterey counties. The safety notification was issued due to dangerous levels of naturally occurring paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) toxins that can cause illness or death in humans. Recent testing shows concentrations of PSP toxins are at safe or undetectable levels.

This notification does not change the annual mussel quarantine, which still remains in effect. The annual quarantine prohibits the sport-harvest of mussels for human consumption and 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.

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.

For the most current information on shellfish advisories and quarantines, call 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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