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Consumers Warned not to eat Sport-Harvested Bivalve Shellfish from Marin County

Date: December 31, 2020
Number: SN20-009
Contact: CDPHpress@cdph.ca.gov | CDPH Marine Biotoxin Monitoring Program

CDPH Lifts Warning about Shellfish from Sonoma County but Warning for Mendocino County Remains

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is advising consumers not to eat sports-harvested mussels, clams, or scallops from Marin County due to dangerous levels of paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) toxins being detected.

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.

Meanwhile, CDPH has lifted the October 30, 2020 shellfish safety notification today related to sport-harvested mussels, whole scallops, and clams in Sonoma County. The safety notification was due to dangerous levels of naturally occurring paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) toxins that can cause illness or death. Recent testing shows PSP toxins are at safe or undetectable levels for bivalve shellfish in this area.

The warning against eating sport-harvested bivalve shellfish (including mussels, clams, and scallops) from Mendocino County remains in effect, due to continued elevated levels of PSP toxins.

For the most current information on shellfish advisories, call CDPH's toll-free Shellfish Information Line at (800) 553-4133 or viewing the recreational bivalve shellfish advisory interactive map. For additional information, please visit the CDPH Marine Biotoxin Monitoring Web page

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