Consuming shellfish harvested from San Mateo Co. not advised due to toxin risk, CDPH says

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Thursday, August 3, 2023
Fresh shellfish from San Mateo Co. a toxic poison risk: CDPH
Residents are advised against eating shellfish from San Mateo County waters due to a risk of paralytic shellfish poisoning, say state officials.

SAN MATEO COUNTY, Calif. (KGO) -- The California Department of Public Health sent out a notice advising consumers not to eat sport-harvested mussels, clams, or scallops from San Mateo County.

"Dangerous levels of paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) toxins have been detected in mussels from San Mateo County. The naturally occurring PSP toxins can cause illness or death in humans. Cooking does not destroy the toxin," CDPH said in a statement.

This safety notification is in addition to its annual mussel quarantine that was issued in May. This applies to all species of mussels harvested for human consumption along the California coast, as well as all bays and estuaries. CDPH expects the quarantine to last through October.

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"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," CDPH said.

CDPH warns that 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.

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 viewing the recreational bivalve shellfish advisory interactive map. For additional information, you can visit the CDPH Marine Biotoxin Monitoring web page.

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