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CDPH Warns Consumers Not to Eat Sport-Harvested Bivalve Shellfish from San Luis Obispo County 

Date: 12/22/2016 
Number: 16-084 
Contact: Ali Bay, (916) 440-7259 

SACRAMENTO  The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is advising consumers not to eat recreationally harvested mussels, clams or whole scallops from San Luis Obispo County. Dangerous levels of paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) toxins have been found in mussels from this region. The naturally occurring PSP toxins can cause illness or death in humans. Cooking does not destroy the toxin. 

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. 

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. There have been no reports of illnesses related to this event. 

CDPH’s December 16 warning against eating sport-harvested bivalve shellfish from Monterey County also remains in effect. 

The most current information on shellfish advisories and quarantines is available by calling CDPH’s toll-free Shellfish Information Line at (800) 553-4133. For additional information, please visit the CDPH Marine Biotoxin Monitoring Web page.
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