California Health Department Warns Eating Dungeness Crabs Due To High Toxin Levels

Posted: Nov 4 2015, 2:57am CST | by , Updated: Nov 4 2015, 10:05pm CST, in News | Latest Science News


California Officials Warn Eating Dungeness Crabs due to High Toxin Levels
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High levels of domoic acid has been detected in the waters along the California coastline

California Department of Public Health (CDPH) warns people to not eat Dungeness and Rock crabs.

The crabs caught in the waters between the Oregon Border and the southern Santa Barbara County line may contain domoic acid since dangerously high levels of the toxin has been detected in the waters along the California coastline.

Crab has been used in the form of both meat and crab butter but due to its potential detrimental effects, the state public health department is advising people to not consume it either way.

Domoic acid is produced by a major group of marine algae which are the member of genus Pseudo-nitzschia. The high doses of this toxin can lead to permanent brain damage and even to death as well. 

Symptoms of domoic acid poisoning started to appear within 30 minutes to 24 hours after eating toxic seafood and may include vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramps, headache and dizziness. In most cases, symptoms disappear within few days but sometimes it may have long-lasting impact and a person may experience difficulty in breathing, instable heart, seizures and permanent loss of short-term memory, a condition known as Amnesic Shellfish Poisoning.” 

"It's really a public health issue and that's got to be our priority right now," said Traverso, spokesperson from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. "We don't want anybody eating crab with domoic acid in it that can potentially kill someone."

A crab that has accumulated toxin is difficult to identify because it does not have apparent ill effects so, health department had to alert consumers with possible side effects. The health department will continue sampling to monitor the levels of domoic acid in Dungeness and Rock crab until it gets back to normal level which is 30 ppm in crab butter and 20 ppm in the meat.

The warning message also means a delay in the start of Dungeness crab fishing season which is scheduled to open Saturday this week. The ban is expected to impose for an indefinite period of time until crabs are not deemed safe to eat.

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Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.




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