CDPH Lifts Warnings about Certain Shellfish from Santa Cruz and Monterey Counties
Date: September 29, 2020
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.