Domoic Acid Overload Makes Mussels Off-Limits

An overabundance of domoic acid in the flesh of Santa Barbara County mussels, including those in the northern Channel Islands, makes the bivalve off-limits to sport harvesters, the state Public Health department announced on April 13. The naturally occurring toxin can cause illness — symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, cramps, and headache — and even death, though no such cases have occurred in California. Commercially harvested mussels are tested regularly for toxins, and those are not part of this warning.

For more information on the biotoxin program, visit Public Health here or call the Shellfish Information Line at (800) 553-4133.

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