Why you should stay away from Dungeness crab

Why you should stay away from Dungeness crab

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) recently issued a warning about Dungeness and rock crabs from the waters along the Central and Northern California Coast. Let’s take a look at why you should stay away from Dungeness crab.

California health authorities are recommending staying away from Dungeness and rock crabs because of unsafe levels of a naturally-occuring neurotoxin found in them.

As reported by the Huffington Post:

A type of microscopic marine algae called pseudo-nitzschia is responsible for producing the neurotoxin domoic acid. The toxin accumulates in the bodies of bigger sea creatures like shellfish and small types of fish, and once the poison reaches a certain threshold, those shellfish and fish can become poisonous to people and other animals that eat them.”

The growth of pseudo-nitzchia is impossible to predict, according to California authorities. There is no timetable on when these crabs will be safe to eat again.

The CDPH explains:

“Symptoms of domoic acid poisoning can occur within 30 minutes to 24 hours after eating toxic seafood. In mild cases, symptoms may include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, headache and dizziness. These symptoms disappear within several days. In severe cases, the victim may experience trouble breathing, confusion, disorientation, cardiovascular instability, seizures, excessive bronchial secretions, permanent loss of short-term memory (a condition known as Amnesic Shellfish Poisoning), coma or death. There have been no reported illnesses associated with this event.”

Researchers have been monitoring toxic algae in the Pacific Ocean and have been warning about domoic acid in the Monterey Bay and along the coast.

Raphael Kudela, an ocean sciences professor and algae expert at University of California, Santa Cruz, said in a June statement that the algae blooms he observed “will be one of the most toxic and spatially largest events we’ve had in at least a decade” and that it could be linked to the increasingly warm water on the coast.

Note: None of the information in our website is intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. The content on our website is for educational purposes only.

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1. “Health Authorities Warn Against Eating Toxic Dungeness Crab.” The Huffington Post. HuffingtonPost.com, n.d. Web. 9 Nov. 2015.
2. “CDPH Issues Warning about Dungeness and Rock Crabs Caught in Waters Along the Central and Northern California Coast.” California Department of Public Health. California Department of Public Health, n.d. Web. 09 Nov. 2015.
3. “Don’t Eat Dungeness Crab, California Health Department Warns.” SFGate. SFGate, n.d. Web. 9 Nov. 2015.
4. “Large Bloom of Toxic Algae under Way in Monterey Bay and beyond.” UC Santa Cruz News. University of California Santa Cruz, n.d. Web. 09 Nov. 2015.

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