FDA Advises Against Consumption of American Lobster (Maine Lobster)
Tomalley July 28, 2008
Regulators find dangerous levels of toxins that cause Paralytic
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today warned 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. However, studies have shown that, even
when high levels of PSP toxins are present in lobster tomalley, lobster meat
itself is typically unaffected.
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.
PSP toxins normally occur from time to time in clams and other shellfish and
are carefully monitored by state regulatory authorities. The FDA learned of this
problem after routine sampling conducted by regulatory authorities in Maine
and New Hampshire found dangerous levels of the toxins in lobster tomalley.
Some shellfish beds have been closed in recent months due to elevated levels
of PSP toxins.
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.
SOURCE FDA News FDA Advises Against Consumption of American
Lobster (Maine Lobster) Tomalley July 28, 2008