Deadly toxins found in foraged shellfish

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The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services is reminding Alaskans that consuming shellfish you harvest yourself can be deadly. High levels of algal toxins that cause paralytic shellfish poisoning have been found in shellfish from several Alaska communities, a Wednesday release from the department states.

A single shellfish can contain high enough levels of the toxins to kill a human within hours. PSP toxins are not destroyed by cooking or freezing the shellfish, and there is no antitoxin.

“There are NO beaches that are certified or designated as ‘safe’ beaches for shellfish harvesting in Alaska. Non-commercially harvested shellfish may contain paralytic shellfish toxins that, if ingested, can cause death. Anyone consuming non-commercial shellfish does so at his or her own risk,” the release reads.

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