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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Warning: Don't Eat the Shellfish From Marin County

Posted By on Thu, Feb 28, 2013 at 9:30 AM

click to enlarge Remember, if they're sick, you're sick
  • Remember, if they're sick, you're sick

Hey pescatarians, take note. The California Department of Public Health is warning hungry people not to eat harvested mussels, clams, or whole scallops that come from Marin County where dangerous levels of paralytic shellfish poisoning toxins have been detected in this region.

Specifically, the toxins were detected in the mussels, but clams and scallops may also pose a health risk, officials said. And what happens if you do eat fish that hosts the poisonous toxins?

You can can get sick, or worse die, according to the California Department of Health.

Today's warning is in addition to the annual mussel quarantine that was extended on October 31, 2012, for Del Norte and Humboldt counties; the quarantine remains in effect.

The 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," the Health Department said in a statement.

Here's how you would know if you had PSP toxins: It would affect your 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.

Also, cooking does not destroy the toxin.

Now might be a good time to try that new tofu burrito from Chipotle.

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About The Author

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert has been Online News Editor for SF Weekly since 2010. She's a Texas native and has a closet full of cowboy boots to prove it.


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