Abalone & Food Poisoning

Ciguatera Poisoning

During the warm months, saltwater mollusks are subject to red tide, according to Medline Plus. Algal bloom produces poisonous organisms, dinoflagellates, which are eaten by the mollusks. Dinoflagellates make ciguatoxin, which is harmful to humans if ingested.

Types to Avoid

The viscera of abalone in warm tropical waters can harbor this poisonous substance. No matter how well the shellfish is cooked, if it contains heat-stable ciguatoxin, you will be poisoned.


Symptoms of abalone poisoning include abdominal cramps, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. After these symptoms, you may experience bizarre sensations, like the feeling your teeth are loose; confusing hot and cold temperatures (ice could feel hot, fire could feel cold); or a metallic taste in your mouth.


According to NIH, shellfish poisoning can be a medical emergency. Call an ambulance or get to an emergency center immediately.


You will receive medicines to stop vomiting, fluids to hydrate after vomiting and diarrhea, and Mannitol to to reduce neurological symptoms.

Poison Control

The National Poison Control Center, at (800) 222-1222, can be called from anywhere in the United States.