Mussels, clams, scallops, lobster and rock crab taken off the Ventura County coastline by recreational enthusiasts are not safe for eating due to dangerous levels of a naturally occurring toxin that can cause illness or death. The warning from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is for recreationally harvested bivalve shellfish, including mussels, clams, or whole scallops and the internal organs of lobster and rock crab. The problem, according to CDPH, is that dangerous levels of domoic acid were detected in the internal organs of lobster (also known as lobster tomalley) from these coastal waters. The toxin, also known as Amnesic Shellfish Poisoning (ASP), can cause illness or death in humans. No cases of human poisoning from domoic acid are known to have occurred in California. Rock crab are also capable of accumulating this toxin in the internal organs (also called crab butter). This warning does not apply to commercially sold clams, mussels, scallops or oysters from approved sources. State law permits only state-certified commercial shellfish harvesters or dealers to sell these products. Shellfish sold by certified harvesters and dealers are subject to frequent mandatory testing to monitor for toxins. Symptoms of domoic acid poisoning can occur within 30 minutes to 24 hours after eating toxic seafood. In mild cases, symptoms may include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, headache and dizziness. These symptoms disappear within several days. In severe cases, the victim may experience trouble breathing, confusion, disorientation, cardiovascular instability, seizures, excessive bronchial secretions, permanent loss of short term memory, coma or death. The annual quarantine on recreationally harvested mussels remains in effect along the entire California coastline. This quarantine applies to all species of mussels harvested along the California coast, including all bays and estuaries.