The California Department of Public Health’s (CDPH’s) biotoxin monitoring program began in 1927 in response to a massive poisoning event that occurred after people ate mussels containing high levels of paralytic shellfish poisoning toxin. Several deaths and over 100 illnesses were attributed to the event, according to CDPH.
Domoic acid, which causes amnesic shellfish poisoning, is another potentially deadly and naturally occurring toxin that may be produced after a “bloom” of a single-celled plant called Pseudo-nitzschia. Blooms of Pseudo-nitzschia do not always produce domoic acid, and there is currently no reliable way to predict where or when a bloom will produce the toxin. Continue reading