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Environment and Outdoors

State Officials Say Mussels Affected By Biotoxin Recalled, Destroyed

The Department of Marine Resources says that a shellfish recall implemented last week has resulted in about 98 percent of the product in being surrendered.

According to the department, about 57,000 out of 58,000 pounds of mussels harvested from Frenchman Bay were destroyed this week. The shellfish tested positive for higher than allowable levels of the neurotoxin that causes amnesic shellfish poisoning.

Some 1,100 pounds of the mussels are unaccounted for.

“We don’t have absolute certainty — we know that some of it found its way to retailers,” says Jeff Nichols with DMR.

Nichols says it is possible that some of the mussels may have been consumed.

“But we also know that the symptoms associated with amnesic shellfish poisoning happen typically within 24-48 hours, so as we move forward in time we are growing in confidence that there’s no health impacts at this point,” he says.

Nichols says the department is working with Maine CDC to monitor any potential cases.

Meanwhile, the Down East coast from Deer Isle to the Canadian border remains closed to shellfish harvesting due to elevated levels of the algae that produce the toxin, domoic acid. The toxin can become concentrated in shellfish and harm the marine mammals and humans that consume them.