Alert: Paralytic Toxins May Be Present in Some Shellfish

( – Summer is almost upon us. That means people will spend more time outdoors and eating their favorite dishes, like oysters. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning about shellfish.

On June 5, the FDA advised retailers, consumers, and restaurants in California, Arizona, Hawaii, Colorado, New York, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington to check the shellfish they purchased recently. According to the recall notice, bay clams and oysters harvested on or after May 28 in Tillamook Bay or Netarts Bay, Oregon should not be consumed.

All shellfish harvested from Willapa Bay, Washington were also recalled. That included those harvested on May 26 and May 30 in Stony Point and in Bruceport and Bay Center between May 29 and May 30.

The FDA asked restaurants and retailers to dispose of the products harvested on those dates and from the locations mentioned above. The shellfish has potentially been contaminated with toxins that can cause paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP). The federal agency explained they consume algae which causes the toxins to accumulate in the bodies of the shellfish.

Shellfish containing paralytic shellfish toxins (PSTs) don’t look, taste, or smell abnormal. The toxins cannot be removed by freezing or cooking. Symptoms of PSP begin within 30 minutes of eating the food. They can include tingling of the mouth, lips, or tongue. Some people develop numbness in their legs or arms, loss of muscle coordination, weakness, shortness of breath, nausea, a floating feeling, vomiting, headache, or dizziness.

People who experience any of those symptoms should seek medical care and report it to the health department. Patients will likely receive fluid therapy and respiratory support. Those who survive the first 24 hours are generally okay and don’t have lasting side effects. Some cases, however, are fatal. In those cases, the cause of death is usually caused by asphyxiation.

Anyone who has the shellfish in question should throw it away.

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