California Public Health Officials Issue Seafood Consumption Warning for Central Coast Counties

California public health officials are urging consumers to exercise caution when consuming certain types of seafood caught in Monterey, Santa Cruz, and Santa Barbara counties.

The warning comes in response to the presence of domoic acid, a naturally occurring toxin, found in the internal organs of scallops, anchovy, crabs, and sardines from these coastal regions. Additionally, recreational catches of mussels or clams may also pose a risk.

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) issued a notice last month regarding the potential dangers of consuming seafood with elevated levels of domoic acid. Initially, the warning focused on the internal organs of the aforementioned seafood; however, the CDPH has now extended it to include the meat of these species as well.

The CDPH emphasizes that commercially caught clams, mussels, scallops, and oysters from approved sources are safe for consumption. State-certified commercial shellfish harvesters or dealers adhere to rigorous standards to ensure the safety of their products sold in California.

Symptoms of domoic acid poisoning can manifest within a broad time frame, ranging from 30 minutes to 24 hours after consuming contaminated seafood. While mild cases may present as flu-like symptoms, severe instances can lead to Amnesic Shellfish Poisoning, posing more significant health risks.

In severe cases, individuals may experience respiratory issues, disorientation, seizures, cardiovascular instability, excessive bronchial secretions, permanent short-term memory loss, coma, or even death, according to CDPH reports.

Despite the warning, there have been no recent reports of illnesses related to the consumption of affected seafood. The CDPH is vigilant in monitoring potential cases and advising the public on necessary precautions.

It is important for consumers to remain vigilant and adhere to the advisory to protect their health. Last year, the department issued a similar warning in Monterey and Santa Cruz counties, highlighting the recurring nature of this concern.

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