The annual mussel quarantine-which usually extends from 5/1 to 10/31-began on 4/20 this year, immediately after health officials testing the shellfish found elevated levels of domoic acid. The California Department of Health Services imposes the yearly ban to prevent domoic acid poisoning, a neurological disorder, and the closely associated paralytic shellfish poisoning. Both conditions are caused by toxins that are seasonally produced by microscopic algae and accumulate in the bivalve’s tissues.


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