Bad news for crab lovers in the West Coast. The Associated Press reports that crab season has been delayed because dangerous toxin levels were found in the crustaceans along the coast of California, Oregon and Washington.
Elevated levels of domoic acid were discovered in the crabs, causing major concerns from health officials. The toxin is naturally produced by microscopic algae in the Pacific. When consumed by shellfish, it produces the domoic acid.
While domoic acid can usually be found in the crustaceans, the elevated levels are what’s causing concerns. Low concentrations are pretty harmless, however, highly-concentrated levels of the toxin can cause minor or severe illness and possibly even death.
Though crab season for the states has been delayed, officials say that it’s safe to eat the crabs currently sold in stores.
The delay will be in effect until health officials believe its finally safe to fish for crabs. When we do eat them, however, it’s best to avoid the fat in the back of the shell as well as the gut. Those areas are where the toxins accumulate.