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Consumers Warned not to Eat Sport-Harvested Razor Clams from Del Norte County

Date: December 16, 2021
Number: SN21-011

Contact: CDPH Marine Biotoxin Monitoring Program

​The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is advising consumers not to eat sport-harvested razor clams from Del Norte County due to dangerous levels of naturally occurring domoic acid, also referred to as Amnesic Shellfish Poisoning, being detected


This warning only applies to razor clams as they are known to concentrate and retain domoic acid toxin in their meat and tissues at higher levels and for much longer than other species of bivalve shellfish. The naturally occurring domoic acid toxin can cause illness or death in humans. Cooking does not destroy the toxin.


Symptoms of amnesic shellfish poisoning 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. Persons with such symptoms after consuming shellfish should seek medical care and tell their provider about the shellfish consumed.


No cases of human amnesic shellfish poisoning from domoic acid are known to have occurred from shellfish harvested in California.


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.


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

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