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CDPH Lifts Warnings about Certain Shellfish from San Luis Obispo County

Date: August 13, 2019
Number: SN19-009
Contact:  Corey Egel | 916.440.7259 | CDPH Marine Biotoxin Monitoring Program

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has lifted the June 7, 2019 shellfish safety notification today related to sport-harvested whole scallops and all clams in San Luis Obispo County. The safety notification was issued due to dangerous levels of naturally occurring paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) toxins that can cause illness or death. The safety notification advised consumers not to eat sport-harvested clams, or whole scallops from San Luis Obispo County. Recent testing shows PSP toxins have decreased to safe or undetectable levels.  

This notification does not change the annual mussel quarantine, which still remains in effect. The annual quarantine 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. The warning against eating sport-harvested razor clams in Del Norte and Humboldt counties also remains in effect, due to continued elevated levels of domoic acid.  

These warning 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.  

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. For additional information, please visit the CDPH Marine Biotoxin Monitoring Web page
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