Warning: Don’t Eat Sport-Harvested Bivalve Shellfish From Los Angeles County

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The California Department of Public Health is warning consumers not to eat recreationally harvested bivalve shellfish including mussels, clams or whole scallops from Los Angeles County.

The agency said dangerous levels of domoic acid, which can be deadly, have been detected in mussels from this region. This naturally occurring toxin can cause amnesic shellfish poisoning and possibly lead to death.

Domoic acid is a naturally occurring toxin that can cause amnesic shellfish poisoning within 30 minutes to 24 hours.

In mild cases, symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, headache and dizziness and can last for several days.

In severe cases, victims can have trouble breathing, confusion, disorientation, seizures, permanent loss of short-term memory, coma or death.

But no cases of human poisoning from domoic acid are known to have occurred in California, according to the state Department of Public Health.

The alert does not apply to shellfish sold by state-certified commercial harvesters or dealers because they are subject to frequent mandatory testing to monitor for toxins.

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.

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