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Shellfish Safety Concerns Lifted in Humboldt County But Remain in Effect in Mendocino and Sonoma

The following is a press release issued by the California Department of Public Health:

California Mussels [Picture by Wikicommons]

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has lifted the November 12, 2020 shellfish safety notification today related to sport-harvested mussels, whole scallops, and clams in Humboldt 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 shows PSP toxins are at safe or undetectable levels for bivalve shellfish in this area.

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

The warnings against eating  sport-harvested razor clams in Del Norte and Humboldt counties remain in effect, due to continued elevated levels of domoic acid.

These warnings 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.

For the most current information on shellfish advisories, 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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