Health alert issued for North Coast crab


The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is warning recreational anglers about toxic acid in Dungeness crab caught in the coastal waters in two locations between Fort Bragg and the Oregon border.

The CDPH said the viscera in crabs caught north of Laguna Point to the Humboldt Bay North Jetty and north of the mouth of the Klamath River to the Oregon border contains elevated levels of domoic acid.

If crab is caught from one of these two locations, consumers should follow several guidelines to ensure they are not poisoned with domoic acid:

1. Remove the crab viscera and rinse out the body cavity prior to cooking.

2. Boil or steam whole crabs, instead of frying or broiling, and discard cooking liquids.

The CDPH said cooking crabs neither decreases nor destroys the toxin in the viscera or body meat and cooking liquid should not be reused for sauces, broths, soups or stews.

Symptoms of domoic acid poisoning can occur within 30 minutes to 24 hours of eating toxic seafood. In mild cases, symptoms may include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, headaches and dizziness. Mild symptoms could disappear within several days.

In severe cases, victims may experience trouble breathing, confusion, cardiovascular instability, seizures, excessive bronchial secretions, permanent loss of short-term memory, coma or death.

Advisories are still in place for sport-harvested mussels in Sonoma County, lobsters in Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties and razor clams in Humboldt and Del Norte Counties.

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