OCGOV Home Living & Working Law & Justice Health & Human Care Doing Business Board of Supervisors Agency Directory Jobs Search
Orange County Government Online
Quick Jump Menus

Online Services | OC Links | OC Info | News | Contact | OC Directory | FAQs | Sitemap |   
left top scan lines curve
Left bottom scan lines

2008 Blue arrow down
2007 Blue arrow down
2006 Blue arrow down
2005 Blue arrow down
2004 Blue arrow down
2003 Blue arrow down
2002 Blue arrow down
2001 Blue arrow down
2000 Blue arrow down
1999 Blue arrow down
1998 Blue arrow down
1997 Blue arrow down
1996 Blue arrow down
1995 Blue arrow down
Press Release
County of Orange Seal COUNTY OF ORANGE

Health Care Agency

Regulatory Health Services Environmental Health
April 28, 2000
Larry Honeybourne
(714) 667-3750
Mussel Quarantine
Santa Ana, April 28, 2000…The Orange County Environmental Health Division, reminds consumers that the Annual Mussel Quarantine in California will be in effect in Orange County from May 1 through October 31, 2000. Sport harvesting of mussels for human consumption is prohibited along the entire California coastline. All bays and inlets are included in the quarantine. The purpose of this quarantine is to protect the public from deadly poisons which may be present in bivalve mollusks, such as mussels, clams, oysters, and scallops. Between 1927 and 2000, California recorded 521 cases of Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning, including 32 deaths.

The greatest hazard is poisoning from mussels because they develop high levels of toxin more quickly than other mollusks and are eaten whole without removal of digestive organs. All dark parts should be removed from clams, oysters and scallops before eating, since the poison may be concentrated in those areas. Health officials emphasize that toxic mussels cannot be distinguished from harmless ones. Moreover, cooking does not destroy the toxins as they are relatively heat resistant.

The California quarantine applies only to mussels collected locally by sports harvesters. All commercial shellfish harvesters in California must be certified by the State and are subject to strict testing requirements.

The safest guideline to follow is:

Do not eat mussels from California coastal waters collected by sports harvesters from May 1 through October 31.