Map of Sequim Bay, Washington

Map of Sequim Bay, Washington (Bing.com)

State health officials warned that a type of biotoxin never before found in Washington shellfish was detected in shellfish from the Sequim Bay area on August 11.

The discovery led to a commercial and recreational harvest closure in Sequim Bay. The Washington Department of Health advised people not to eat shellfish from that area until further notice due to the risk of Diarrhetic Shellfish Poisoning.

Shellfish was recalled for commercially sold products from the area dating back to August 1.

All recalled product was accounted for and is not currently on the market.

This is the first time in Washington or the United States that DSP toxin has been found above acceptable food safety limits. As a result, the DOH is sampling and testing shellfish areas throughout the state.

Unlike bacterial contamination, DSP is a toxin, so it is not killed by cooking.

Eating shellfish contaminated with DSP can cause diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps and chills, very similar to gastrointestinal or stomach flu type symptoms. Symptoms could begin within a few hours and last one to three days at the most.

The Office of Shellfish and Water Protection provides updated information on shellfish safety, warnings, closures and restrictions for locations throughout the state