California health officials issue warning against crab consumption

Not one word about Fukushima.

California health officials issue warning against crab consumption:

Put down the California crab legs — they could be poisonous.

“Due to the detection of dangerous levels of domoic acid,” Dungeness and rock crabs caught in waters between the Oregon borders and the southern Santa Barbara County line pose a “significant risk to the public if consumed,” the California Department of Public Health said in a release.

Domoic acid is a naturally occurring toxin produced from “some species of the marine diatom Pseudo-nitzschia,” the state Department of Fish and Wildlife said.

A massive bloom of Pseudo-nitzschia, brought by warmer water temperatures associated with the El Nino event, is causing high levels of the acid.

Marine animals, such as crabs, that filter their food through seawater may accumulate the toxins. While the toxins, which are colorless and odorless, don’t seem to harm the animals accumulating them, people who eat the animals may become poisoned.

Neither cleaning, nor cooking these foods will rid them of the harmful acid.

Symptoms of domoic acid poisoning typically begin within 30 minutes to 24 hours of eating toxic seafood, the health department said. They include vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramps, headache, dizziness and confusion.

In severe cases, symptoms could include difficulty breathing, seizures, coma and death.

Some survivors of severe cases of domoic acid poisoning have been known to suffer permanent loss of short-term memory, officials said.

The health department became aware of the dangerous levels during routine seafood testing and issued an advisory alerting the public.

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