Crab Test Spreadsheet
The Times- Standard has a story on domoic acid levels in local dungeness crab. I rarely eat crab but I was still a bit leery of claims the crab are safe now. After all, how many crab do they sample to determine domoic acid levels? Just one or two crabs tested wouldn't make me feel comfortable eating them.
Kudos to the Times- Standard for providing a link to a spreadsheet (pdf file) showing number of crabs tested per area and their levels of domoic acid. It looks like Eureka area crab are ok with 20 tested and no domoic acid detectable. The southern waters are of concern with 24 of the crab near Fort Bragg tested and a number of them, but not all, exceeding safe levels. The same looks true for Bodega and Half Moon bays.
You'll hopefully be able to know the origin of whatever crab you buy and we should keep in mind most crab from Bodega and Half Moon bays are ok. They just have a larger percentage of crab with excessive levels- the problem being you won't be able to tell which crabs have excessive levels by looking at them.
Not sure if I've mentioned this before but I've been wondering who figured out crabs could be toxic and why? I'm sure indians ate crab back in the day before testing. I wonder if they had a tradition of not eating crab during certain times of year, with prior experience of illness. Or did they know the illness was from crab? At what point did we figure the relationship between eating crab and poisoning and thus start testing?
I always wonder about the historical origins of stuff like this. Another question was brought up by a nurse installng a PICC line in me at UCSF: Who and how did someone figure out artichokes were good to eat? You wouldn't know it by looking at them.