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Does red tide cause bad shellfish?

People often associate red tide with shellfish poisoning, but researchers don't have a solid connection between poisoning and this phenomenon. Red tide occurs when dinoflagellates, or the single-celled organism that shellfish eat, explode in population, tinting water reddish. Sometimes dinoflagellates ingest toxic alkaloids, which makes them toxic to the shellfish that consume them - and therefore toxic to humans. However, dinoflagellates can become toxic without a population explosion, so scientists don't think that red tide is a reliable indicator of bad shellfish.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.