FDA Issues Warning About Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning

Before you dig into that platter of freshly shucked oysters or baked clams at your favorite seafood restaurant, better make sure you know from where the shellfish originated.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is warning consumers to avoid eating shellfish from Oregon and Washington state because they may be contaminated with toxins that cause what’s known as paralytic shellfish poisoning. At least 31 people have been sickened in Oregon so far, according to state health officials. Here’s what to know about the FDA advisory.

The FDA says to avoid oysters and bay clams harvested from Netarts and Tillamook bays in northern Oregon since May 28, as well as shellfish harvested from areas around Willapa Bay in southern Washington since May 26.

They may be contaminated with high levels of paralytic shellfish poisoning, or PSP, a naturally occurring toxin produced by algae.

Shellfish harvested from those areas during that period were distributed beyond Oregon and Washington to Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Nevada, New York. The FDA has warned restaurants and retailers in those states not to serve it.

Elevated levels of toxins were first detected in shellfish on the Oregon coast on May 17, state fish and wildlife officials said.

Read more here from ABC News.