Urgent Warning and Recall Issued by FDA for Contaminated Shellfish

By: Sam Watanuki | Published: Jun 11, 2024

The FDA has issued an urgent warning about potentially contaminated shellfish from Oregon and Washington.

This contamination is due to paralytic shellfish toxins, which can cause severe health issues. This recall affects shellfish harvested on specific dates and distributed across several states.

Affected Shellfish and Harvest Dates

The warning includes oysters and bay clams from Netarts Bay and Tillamook Bay, Oregon, harvested on or after May 28.

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All shellfish species from Willapa Bay, Washington, harvested between May 26 and May 30, are also affected. These shellfish were distributed to multiple states.

Distribution Across Multiple States

The contaminated shellfish were reportedly distributed to restaurants and food retailers in Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Nevada, New York, Oregon, and Washington.

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Consumers in these states should avoid eating these shellfish and discard any they have purchased.

Symptoms of Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP)

PSP symptoms can appear within 30 minutes of consuming contaminated shellfish. Symptoms include tingling of the lips, mouth, and tongue, gastrointestinal distress, and in severe cases, respiratory paralysis.

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Immediate medical attention is crucial if symptoms are experienced.

Nature of the Toxin

Paralytic shellfish toxins are produced by naturally occurring marine algae. Shellfish absorb these toxins from the water.

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Cooking or freezing the shellfish does not remove the toxins, making it important to avoid consumption altogether.

Persistent Contamination Risk

Some shellfish species can cleanse themselves of the toxins quickly, while others retain them for longer periods.

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This variability means that shellfish can pose a health risk for an extended time after the initial contamination.


FDA and State Department Actions

On May 30, the Oregon Department of Agriculture notified the FDA about the recall of certain oysters and bay clams due to elevated PSP levels.

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The Washington State Department of Health also issued a recall for all shellfish species from Willapa Bay on the same day.


Public Health Advisory

The FDA advises consumers to avoid eating the recalled shellfish and to throw them out.

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If anyone experiences symptoms of PSP, they should contact their healthcare provider immediately and report the symptoms to their local hospital and health department.


Monitoring and Updates

The FDA continues to monitor the situation and will provide updates as new information becomes available.

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Ongoing vigilance is vital to managing the risk and ensuring public safety.


Impact on Local Businesses

Local businesses, including restaurants and food retailers, are affected by the recall.

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They are required to remove the contaminated shellfish from their inventory to protect consumers and comply with the FDA’s directive.


Consumer Safety Tips

Consumers should stay informed about food recalls and safety alerts.

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Checking the FDA’s website regularly can help ensure they are aware of any new warnings or updates regarding food safety.


Ensuring Safe Consumption

The FDA’s proactive measures and cooperation with state health departments highlight the importance of food safety practices.

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By staying informed and following safety advisories, consumers can enjoy seafood without risking their health.