After the discovery of a deadly neurotoxin across a long stretch of its southeast coast, Maine’s Department of Marine Resources has reportedly recalled both mussels and clams plucked from the state even though no one has reported any sickness, according to local CBS affiliate WGME. The toxin is called domoic acid and exposure at a high level can cause brain damage or potentially death.
The recall is focused squarely on mussels and mahogany quahogs, another name for clams, harvested between Sunday and Friday of last week in the Jonesport area and clams from along a roughly 60-mile coastal stretch between Cranberry Point and Cow Point in the southeast.
Ingesting the toxin can lead to amnesic shellfish poisoning, or ASP, which can cause diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting, CNN reports.
According to WGME, the state said the recall is working and that shellfish dealers were ordered to throw out any infected products.
“All of our dealers have been extremely cooperative. They've been fulfilling their obligation through this recall process. We're confident that we've removed the impacted shellfish from the supply chain,” Department of Marine Resources spokesman Jeff Nichols told WGME.
Domoic acid, typically found in Japan but in some cases has reached U.S. shores, develops from algae and builds up in shellfish, sardines, and anchovies, according to the Marine Mammal Center, which first found it in marine mammals in 1998.
The acid is also causing problems on the West Coast in California’s Bay Area and may affect the upcoming Dungeness crab season. Last week the San Francisco Chronicle reported California’s Department of Public Health had started testing the crabs several weeks early for domoic acid after it caused fisheries to close.
So far, four out of the six regions in California have tested positive for domoic acid, The Chronicle reported, but the results for now still show a normal level.