Where Local and Global Appetites Collide

Shellfish recall: food poisoning-Texas oysters, clams, mussels-DSP

In a nutshell: Shellfish harvested and recalled from Texas bays may cause a diarrhea like condition.

March 7, 2008–The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) has closed Aransas, Corpus Christi and Copano bays to shellfish harvesting and has issued a recall of oysters, clams and mussels because of an algae bloom.

DSHS officials say high concentrations of the Dinophysis organism have been found in several locations in the area. The toxin produced by this algae bloom, okadaic acid, can accumulate in shellfish tissue and cause diarrhetic shellfish poisoning, or DSP, in people who consume oysters, clams or mussels. Cooking does not destroy the toxin.

Shellfish harvested from these bays on March 1 or later are included in the recall.

Consumers who purchased shellfish March 1 or later are advised not to eat them. People should either call the store where the shellfish were purchased to determine the date and location of harvest or dispose of them. The toxin does not affect other seafood.

DSHS officials say that preliminary test results indicate that levels of okadaic acid in oyster samples taken from the bays exceed federal guidelines. Final test results will be available next week. DSHS will monitor and determine when it is safe to reopen the shellfish areas.

DSP symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, nausea and cramping. Symptoms, which usually last two to three days, can begin from 30 minutes to 12 hours after eating shellfish containing the toxin. DSP usually is not life threatening and does not generally cause long-term effects. DSHS is not aware of any illnesses associated with this algae bloom.

Dinophysis occurs naturally in ocean waters and estuaries and is not related to pollution. Typically it is not found in high numbers along the Texas Gulf Coast. High concentrations can turn the water an orange or brown color. DSHS officials say they know of no health issues associated with people being in water containing the algae.

  1. My spouse ate 50 little necks and within 24 hours was stricken with diarrhea, headache, vomitting, nausea and slight fever. We live in Penna and I would like to know if the clams could have been the ones recalled but my inquiries have been denied by the store that sold them. Is the toxin common enough that ours could be an unrelated instance ?

  2. Forget about the store. They are not going to ever claim fault. You need to call your local department of health and the city, county, or state level. Not knowing what city or state you’re in, I suggest you google it.

  3. i ate shellfish primarily,mussels at a restaurant in the bahamas and was hospitalized in intensive care for 3 days. doctors diagosed a “malloy weiss” tear in esophogus.had chills,and nausea for 24hrs.then the following nite.iwas vomiting blood with coffee gound substance and momentarly passed out. this problem was complex since i had to taken off my 12 heart medicins and most of all, coumadin and other anti coagulants.i am requesting the resort to pay for my expenses. comment . pls advise. does this warrant litigation??

  4. Berj
    You need a good personal injury lawyer not a healthy blog.
    Since it happened in the Bahamas or off shore, the legal rules may be different.
    Still you should talk to a competent personal injury lawyer about your options. You might also contact the USDA or FDA and ask them for a like organization in the Bahamas.

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    A definite great read..Tony Brown

  6. I went to PFChangs resteraunt in Scottsdale AZ told them of my allergies. Then they put oyster sauce in the rice. I almost died, it has been 3 years and I can’t stay well. All the doctors say my immune system has been compromised. I have been in the ER 18 times since then lost my house job and alot of my life. I need a toxicoligist now I have been in court for 3 years and now I need help any ideas. Jen

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