Susan Buckley, RN, Director, Public Health
Ira Singh, MPH, Deputy Director
Donald I. Baird, MD, Health Officer

Division of Environmental Health


Date Released: 12/19/2012
Subject: DHHS lifts clam, scallop advisory in Humboldt County
Contact: Heather Shelton,
Phone: 441-5547

A health advisory to avoid consuming sport-harvested clams and scallops from Humboldt County was lifted today by the Department of Health and Human Services’ Division of Environmental Health (DEH).

However, the California Department of Public Health’s (CDPH) mussel quarantine remains in effect in Humboldt and Del Norte counties, as does a Nov. 6 CDPH warning advising people not to eat sport-harvested bivalve shellfish such as scallops and clams from Del Norte County.

The CDPH’s annual mussel quarantine was extended Oct. 31 for Humboldt and Del Norte counties because dangerous levels of paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) toxins are still being detected in mussels from the North Coast. The naturally occurring PSP toxins can cause illness or death in humans.

Due to the high PSP levels, DEH issued the clam and scallop warning on Nov. 8. Since then, county and state officials have noticed a downward trend in the amount of PSP toxin found in Humboldt County.

“The levels are dropping in Humboldt Bay and Trinidad,” said DEH Director Melissa Martel. “Testing will continue, with samples sent to the CDPH, for as long as the mussel quarantine is in effect.”

These warnings do not apply to commercially sold clams, mussels, scallops or oysters from approved sources. State law permits only certified commercial shellfish harvesters or dealers to sell these products, because shellfish sold by certified harvesters and dealers is subject to frequent mandatory testing.

For updated information about shellfish poisoning and quarantines, call CDPH’s toll-free “Shellfish Information Line” at 800-553-4133.


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