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FOCUS: ORANGE COUNTY COMMUNITY NEWS | Countywide

Quarantine for Mussels Is in Effect

April 25, 1998|VANESSA DeRUYTER

An annual mussel quarantine to prevent people from consuming deadly poisons possibly present in mussels is in effect along the California coastline, according to the Orange County Environmental Health Division.

The quarantine, which includes bays and inlets, lasts until Oct. 31 and prohibits the sport harvesting of mussels for human consumption.

Harmful mussels, which develop high levels of heat-resistant toxins quicker than other mollusks such as clams, oysters and scallops, are not distinguishable from harmless ones.

Officials blame the toxins for 32 deaths and 521 cases of paralytic shellfish poisoning in the state since 1927.

California requires all commercial harvesters to be certified and pass strict testing criteria.

Officials say the best way to avoid poisoning is to not eat mussels collected by sports harvesters.

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