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article imageToxins in Maine shellfish prompt recall and ban on harvests

By Karen Graham     Oct 5, 2016 in Food
Maine's health department and Department of Marine Resources has closed certain portions of the state's coastline to the harvest of shellfish and issued a so-called "harvest recall" because of a finding of high domoic acid levels in samples tested.
The ban, which remains in effect until further notice includes areas east of a line drawn south from Point of Maine (Machiasport) to the limit of U.S. jurisdiction; AND west of the U.S./Canadian border.
The notice by the two agencies ban the harvest of clams, mussels, European oysters, surf/hen clams, or carnivorous snails from the shores, flats, and waters of the aforementioned coastal areas because tests have shown high levels of domoic acid, a naturally occurring marine neurotoxin produced by certain types of algae.
While there have been no reports of illness, Food Safety News reports that excessively high levels of domoic acid can cause serious health problems, including amnesic shellfish poisoning (ASP), and even death. Keep in mind, too, that freezing or cooking of the shellfish will not remove the deadly neurotoxin.
In August, Digital Journal reported on the decline of an iconic "foundation species, the blue mussel, because of warming ocean waters along the northeastern coast of the United States.
And one of the sad consequences of warming waters is the increasing chances of algae formation or algae blooms. People on the west coast of the U.S. and on up into Canada have become very familiar with harvest bans because of the presence of domoic acid in shellfish.
More about Maine, Shellfish, Toxic algae, domoic acid, intil further notice
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