The California Department of Public Health is warning consumers to not eat certain types of seafood caught in Monterey and Santa Cruz counties. Recreationally harvested mussels and clams, commercially or recreationally caught anchovies and sardines, and the internal organs of recreationally caught crab contain dangerous levels of domoic acid.
Dominic acid is a poison that can affect people. The symptoms usually appear within 30 minutes to 4 hours after eating toxic seafood. In mild cases, symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, headache, and dizziness. But in severe cases, victims may have trouble breathing and suffer confusion, disorientation, cardiovascular instability, seizures, permanent loss of short-term memory, coma, or death. Cooking the shellfish will not remove the toxin, as it is not affected by heat. There is no antidote for this toxin; the only treatment is the use of life support systems until the toxin passes through the system.
No illnesses have been reported with this event to date. CDPH is collecting a variety of shellfish, fin fish, and crab from the area to monitor the domoic acid levels.
This warning does not apply to commercially sold clams, mussels, scallops, or oysters from approved sources. State law allows only state-certified commercial shellfish harvesters or dealers to sell these products. The products sold by these vendors must be subject to frequent mandatory testing.