Friday, August 12, 2022
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Public Health Warns of ‘Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning Toxins’ in Locally Foraged Mollusks


The following press release was issued by Mendocino County Public Health:

California Mussels [Picture from WikiCommons]

Mendocino County has received results showing dangerous levels of paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) toxins in mussels. The naturally occurring PSP toxins can cause illness or death in humans. Cooking does not destroy the toxin. The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is advising consumers not to eat sport-harvested mussels, clams, or whole scallops from Mendocino County. This is in addition to the Health Advisories for bivalve shellfish in Humboldt County and Sonoma County due to elevated levels of PSP 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.

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.

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 by viewing the recreational bivalve shellfish advisory interactive map here:

For additional information, please visit the CDPH Marine Biotoxin Monitoring Web page here:…/Shellfish/Shellfish-Program.aspx

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Matt LaFever
Matt LaFever
Picking Brains—Baring Bones—Playing it By Ear: I'm a reporter in Mendocino County and the Founder of MendoFever.

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