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Toxics warning for some Tomales Bay shellfish

SACRAMENTO — California state officials are warning that consumers should avoid eating recreationally harvested shellfish from Monterey and inner Tomales Bays because of toxins present in the organisms.

The California Department of Public Health says consumers should not eat recreationally harvested mussels, clams or whole scallops from either bay because dangerous levels of paralytic shellfish poisoning toxins have been detected in mussels from the areas. The department warns that the naturally occurring toxins can cause illness or death and that cooking doesn't eliminate the danger.

The toxin produces tingling around the mouth and fingertips within minutes or hours after eating the affected shellfish, followed by loss of balance, paralysis and even asphyxiation.

The warning does not apply to commercially sold clams, mussels, scallops or oysters from approved sources, the department says.

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