Consumers Urged Not to Eat Sport-Harvested Bivalve Shellfish
from Santa Barbara County
SACRAMENTO – The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) today warned consumers not to eat recreationally harvested bivalve shellfish (such as mussels, clams or whole scallops) from Santa Barbara County, including the northern Channel Islands. Dangerous levels of domoic acid have been detected in mussels from this region, making them unsafe to consume.
Domoic acid is a naturally occurring toxin. It is referred to as Amnesic Shellfish Poisoning (ASP), and can cause illness or death in humans.
Although no cases of human poisoning from domoic acid are known to have occurred in California, symptoms of domoic acid 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.
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 current information on shellfish advisories and quarantines call CDPH’s toll-free Shellfish Information Line at (800) 553-4133. For additional information, visit the CDPH Marine Biotoxin Monitoring Web page.