Get SF Weekly Newsletters

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Don't Eat Recreationally Harvested Mussels in Marin Right Now

Posted By on Thu, Feb 28, 2013 at 1:10 PM

click to enlarge FLICKR/BISCOTTE

If you're regularly in the practice of harvesting and cooking your own mussels from the waters of Marin county ... stop doing it for now. (Also, can we join you next time?) The California Department of Public Health issued a statement this morning warning consumers not to eat recreationally harvested mussels, clams, or whole scallops from Marin County.

See also: Go Fish: S.F.'s Coastal Foraging King Shows How to Fish (and Eat) Locally

The symptoms of the toxicity sound decidedly non-awesome:

"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. Cooking does not destroy the toxin."

Commercially grown shellfish are still fine to eat, however, because California state law permits only state-certified commercial shellfish harvesters and growers to sell the products -- these businesses are subject to frequent mandatory testing.

"Shellfish from commercial harvesters can typically be found in a grocery store or seafood market," a spokesman from the CDPH said in an email. "The public should only purchase shellfish from a reputable supplier that is able to verify a state-certified source of the shellfish."

This warning comes on top of the annual mussel quarantine on recreationally harvested shellfish, which typically begins in the spring and ends in the fall -- the period in which the majority of illnesses and deaths have occurred. These can be extended or modified based on the toxin levels (the 2012 quarantine is still in effect for Humboldt and Del Norte counties).

CDPH strongly encourages recreational shellfish harvesters to be aware of current status by calling the Shellfish Information Line at (800) 553-4133.

Follow @annaroth

  • Pin It

About The Author

Anna Roth

Anna Roth

Anna Roth is SF Weekly's Food & Drink Editor and author of West Coast Road Eats: The Best Road Food From San Diego to the Canadian Border.


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed

Like us on Facebook


  • Phish at the Bill Graham Auditorium
    Phish is in the midst of a block of sold out shows at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium (October 27-29). The Monday night concert featured a rare first set opener of “Walfredo” with the band members switching instruments for the song. The evening’s highlights included John Fishman and his iconic vacuum cleaner solo and favorites such as Chalk Dust Torture, Slave to the Traffic Light, Axilla, Rift, 2001 Space Odyssey, and Maze. The show also featured Phish’s debut of a, seemingly impromptu, version of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” to with roaring approval of the, singing along, crowd. With Game 6 being tonight, partying Phish fans will join Giants fans in Civic Center Plaza where there will be a World Series viewing party on a large screen set up by the City. Photography by Jamie Soja.
  • The 4th Annual Masquerotica 2014 - NSFW
    The theme this year was Carnaval Mystique for the 4th Annual Masquerotica at The Factory. Attendees were entertained by strip dance, trapeze, and live music. Photographs by Calibree Photography.