If you’re living on the West Coast, you may want to think twice before digging into a bowl of crab legs.
According to The California Department of Health and CNN, “Due to the detection of dangerous levels of domoic acid,” Dungeness and rock crabs caught in waters between the Oregon and the Santa Barbara County in California are a “significant risk to the public if consumed.”
The dangerous levels of domoic acid are the result of the changing water temperatures from the El Niño storm that the country is currently facing. The warming water temperatures resulted in a boom in population of an algae called Pseudo-nitzschia, which produces domoic acid.
While not toxic to the animals that ingest Pseudo-nitzschia, the toxins can cause domoic acid poisoning in humans. Symptoms of the poisoning include nausea, vomiting, headaches, and dizziness, while more severe forms of the acid poisoning includes seizures and death.
CNN reports that the California Fish and Game Commission currently plans on meeting to discuss whether or not to delay the recreational season of Dungeness crab, which is supposed to begin on November 7th. In the meantime, you may want to be extra cautious of crab, seeing how the poison is colorless, odorless, and will not be removed after cooking or cleaning the shellfish.