LOS ANGELES – State health officials warned consumers Tuesday not to eat recreationally harvested bivalve shellfish — including mussels, clams or whole scallops — from Los Angeles County, pointing to dangerous levels of domoic acid, which can be fatal.
The alert [read it here] does not apply to commercially sold clams, mussels, scallops or oysters from state-certified commercial shellfish harvesters or dealers. Shellfish sold by approved sources are regularly tested for toxins.
Domoic acid is a naturally occurring toxin that can cause amnesic shellfish poisoning within 30 minutes to 24 hours. In mild cases, symptoms may include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, headache and dizziness and can last for several days. In severe cases, victims may have trouble breathing, confusion, disorientation, seizures, permanent loss of short-term memory, coma or death.
However, no cases of human poisoning from domoic acid are known to have occurred in California, according to the state Department of Public Health.
An annual mussel quarantine was also issued May 1 that applies to all species of mussels harvested along the California coast and is expected to continue through at least October 31.
Current information on shellfish advisories and quarantines is available by calling 800-553-4133.