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

Division of Environmental Health

PRESS RELEASE

Date Released: 4/25/2005
Subject: ANNUAL SPORT HARVESTED MUSSEL QUARANTINE
Contact: Brian Cox, Director, Environmental Health Division
Phone: (707) 445-6215

The Humboldt County Department of Health and Human Services reminds the public that the annual sport-harvested mussel quarantine order has been issued by the State of California Department of Health Services. The quarantine is established for all species of mussels found along the California shoreline including all bays, inlets, and harbors.

This quarantine prohibits the taking, sale, or offering for sale (except by State certified commercial shellfish harvesters or dealers) of mussels in or from these designated areas, except for use as fish bait during the period of May 1 through October 31, 2005. During the period of this quarantine, mussels may concentrate naturally occurring substances that are highly toxic. The quarantine is intended to prevent paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) and domoic acid poisoning (DAP). Mussels for use as bait shall be broken open at the time of taking or prior to sale and be placed and sold in containers adequately labeled in bold-face type letters at least one-half inch in height as follows:

MUSSELS MAY CONTAIN POISON UNFIT FOR HUMAN FOOD

A warning has been issued to consumers of sport-harvested (bivalve) clams and scallops. The warning advises the public that the dark part of all clams and scallops must be discarded and not eaten because any paralytic shellfish poisoning toxin present during May 1 through October 31 would be concentrated in the dark parts. Only the white meats of clams and scallops should be prepared for human consumption.

As with all shellfish, clams and scallops should be taken only from areas free of sewage contamination and should also be thoroughly cleaned before cooking.

Further details regarding paralytic shellfish poisoning may be obtained from the Division of Environmental Health by calling 445-6215 or 1-800-963-9241.

 

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