Local seafood slapped with toxicity warning

The California Department of Public Health announced Friday that its updating its warning to consumers regarding seafood caught in Monterey and Santa Cruz counties.

Consumers should not eat recreationally caught or harvested mussels and clams, as well as the internal organs of scallops and the internal organs of commercially or recreationally harvested anchovy, crabs and sardines because of elevated domoic acid levels, according to the CDPH.

The warning is also for Santa Barbara County, CDPH officials said.

Domoic acid is a naturally occurring toxin that has been found in a variety of local seafood samples, the CDPH said.

The occurrence of the toxin is related to the bloom of a particular single-celled plant, however, the conditions that support the growth of this plant are unknown, CDPH officials said.

The department said it would continue to monitor a variety of shellfish, fish and crab samples taken from the three counties.

The warning does not apply to commercially sold clams, mussels, scallops or oysters from approved sources.

Symptoms of domoic acid poisoning can occur within 30 minutes to 24 hours after eating toxic seafood. In mild cases, symptoms may include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, headache and dizziness.

In severe cases, the victim may experience trouble breathing, confusion, disorientation, cardiovascular instability, seizures, excessive bronchial secretions, permanent loss of short-term memory, coma or death, CDPH officials said.