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Crabs Toxic: California Issues Do-Not-Eat Dungeness Warning

Image: Crabs Toxic: California Issues Do-Not-Eat Dungeness Warning
 Bucket of Dungeness crabs. (REUTERS/Julie Gordon)

By    |   Thursday, 05 Nov 2015 07:59 AM

Crabs have been found with toxic levels of domoic acid along the California coast, leading the state's public health department to issue a warning that people shouldn't eat Dungeness crabs until further notice.

California's Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment is recommending that the Dungeness crab season be delayed along with the closing of rock crab fisheries, said the San Francisco Chronicle.

State health officials said the toxic Dungeness crabs and rock crabs were caught along the coastline between Oregon and the southern border of Santa Barbara County.

"The levels (of domoic acid) have exceeded the state's action level for the crabs' body meat as well as the viscera, commonly referred to as crab butter, and therefore pose a significant risk to the public if they are consumed," said a public release from the California Department of Public Health.

"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. These symptoms disappear within several days," it said.

In worst cases, victims could have trouble breathing, disorientation, cardiovascular instability, seizures, excessive bronchial secretions, permanent loss of short-term memory, coma or death.

The Sacramento Bee reported that the domoic acid has been spread through single-celled algae that have appeared in a massive bloom along the entire Pacific Coast to Alaska.

"There's a lot of areas around the country, both East and West Coast, that you can get crab from," said Patrick Kennelly, chief of the foods-safety section at the state's public health department.

"They may be sourcing from areas outside of the current area of concern. ... If they can't tell you where it came from, then you probably want to avoid it, just out of an abundance of caution," said Kennelly.

The California Fish and Game Commission has scheduled an emergency meeting Thursday to consider the environmental health hazard office's recommendation to delay the crabbing season, noted the Bee.

"Historically, we see (single-cell algae) blooms during and after the El Niño," said Raphael Kudela, a professor of ocean sciences at the University of California, Santa Cruz. "So it's quite possible that next year will be another big bloom year and possibly just as toxic or more toxic. So, at that point, three years in a row, it starts to become the new normal."


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Crabs have been found with toxic levels of domoic acid along the California coast, leading the state's public health department to issue a warning that people shouldn't eat Dungeness crabs until further notice.
crabs, toxic, california, warning
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2015-59-05
Thursday, 05 Nov 2015 07:59 AM
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