POINT REYES (CBS SF) – The California Department of Public Health warned consumers not to consume the internal organs of Dungeness crab caught north of Point Reyes, after elevated levels of domoic acid was found.
CDPH said in a written statement Wednesday that they believe Dungeness crab meat caught north of the area is safe.
But health officials are concerned about the viscera, also known as the “butter” or “guts” of crabs, could contain the neurotoxin. If the whole crabs are cooked in liquid, domoic acid could leech out.
The department urges water or broth used to cook whole crabs should be discarded and not used to prepare sauces, broths, stews and other foods.
To reduce risk, health officials urge consumers to remove the organs and rinse out the crab’s body cavity prior to cooking. Boiling or steaming crabs whole is also recommended over frying or broiling, but liquids must be discarded.
Domoic acid poisoning could cause vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, headaches and dizziness. Severe cases could lead to trouble breathing, seizures, short-term memory loss or even death.
Last year, domoic acid caused by a toxic algae plume delayed the Dungeness crab season for several months.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife said that recreational Dungeness crab season is scheduled to open on November 5th.