FDA issues shellfish warning for paralytic toxins

June 12, 2024

(NewsNation) — The FDA is warning against selling and eating certain shellfish from Oregon and Washington that may be contaminated with paralytic toxins.

The warning applies to the following seafood that may cause paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP):

Oysters and bay clams harvested from growing areas in Netarts Bay and Tillamook Bay, Oregon, harvested on or after May 28

All shellfish species from growing areas in Willapa Bay, Washington, harvested between May 26 and May 20

All shellfish from the Bay Center, harvested between May 29-30

All shellfish from Bruceport, harvested between May 29-30 and distributed to Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New York, Oregon and Washington

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Molluscan shellfish contaminated with natural toxins from the water can lead to illness. Most of those toxins are produced by naturally occurring marine algae. The shellfish consume the algae, causing the toxins to accumulate in their flesh.

Some species cleanse themselves of toxins rapidly, while in others the process is much slower, according to the FDA.

Food containing such toxins may look, smell, and taste normal, the FDA warned. They cannot be removed by cooking or freezing.

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Consumers of these products experiencing symptoms of illness should contact their healthcare provider and report their symptoms to their local Health Department.

Symptoms of PSP develop about 30 minutes after eating and can include tingling of the lips, mouth and tongue, respiratory paralysis, and numbness of the arms and lings.

The FDA is waiting for more information about where the shellfish were distributed. The agency will continue to monitor the situation and help state authorities as needed.