Health Department Warns Against Eating Seafood from 3 California Counties

California public health officials are warning consumers to avoid certain types of seafood caught in Monterey, Santa Cruz and Santa Barbara counties.

Last month, the California Department of Public Health said the internal organs of scallops, anchovy, crabs and sardines from those coastal counties, in addition to recreationally caught mussels or clams, could be dangerous to eat due to the presence of domoic acid, a naturally occurring toxin. Friday, CDPH extended its warning to apply to the meat of these types of seafood.

CDPH said the warning does not apply to commercially caught clams, mussels, scallops or oysters “from approved sources.” Only state-certified commercial shellfish harvesters or dealers are legally allowed to sell those types of shellfish in California.

Symptoms of domoic acid poisoning can occur within 30 minutes to 24 hours after eating contaminated seafood, according to CDPH. Mild cases can result in flu-like symptoms while more severe cases may lead to Amnesic Shellfish Poisoning. In those severe cases, the victim may experience trouble breathing, disorientation, cardiovascular instability, seizures, excessive bronchial secretions, permanent loss of short-term memory, coma or death, CDPH reports.

There have been no recent reports of anyone becoming ill related to this warning, according to CDPH.

The department issued a similar warning last year in Monterey and Santa Cruz counties.

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