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FDA Advises Against Consumption of American Lobster


Dangerous Levels of Toxins Found

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning consumers to avoid eating tomalley in American Lobster (Maine Lobster), regardless of where the lobster was harvested, because of potential contamination with dangerous levels of the toxins that cause Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP).

American lobster, also known as Maine lobster, are harvested from the waters of the Atlantic Ocean from Northeastern Canada to South Carolina, inclusive.

The FDA advisory applies only to tomalley, the soft, green substance found in the body cavity of the lobster that functions as the liver and pancreas. Cooking does not eliminate the PSP toxins.

Symptoms of PSP include tingling and/or numbness of the mouth, face or neck; muscle weakness; headache; and nausea. In extreme cases, when large amounts of the toxin are consumed, these symptoms can lead to respiratory failure and death. Symptoms usually occur within two hours of exposure to the toxin. Anyone experiencing these symptoms should seek medical attention.

Lobster tomalley normally does not contain dangerous levels of PSP toxins. The current high levels of PSP toxins likely are associated with an ongoing red tide episode in northern New England and eastern Canada. Authorities in Maine, Massachusetts and New Hampshire, as well as in Canada, have issued advisories cautioning against eating tomalley.

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Published on Jul-30-08


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