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Shellfish Safety Notification: CDPH Lifts Warning about Certain Shellfish from Marin County

Date: October 5, 2021
Number: SN21-007
Contact: | CDPH Marine Biotoxin Monitoring Program

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has lifted the August 27, 2021 shellfish safety notification today related to sport-harvested clams and scallops in Marin County. The safety notification was issued due to dangerous levels of naturally occurring paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) toxins that can cause illness or death. Recent testing show concentrations of PSP toxins are now at safe or undetectable levels for bivalve shellfish in the area.

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.

This warning did 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 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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