Foods to Avoid on a Shellfish-Free Diet
Shellfish are divided into two families: mollusks and crustaceans. Only crustaceans are covered by the Food Allergy Labeling Law (FALCPA), so only ingredients made from crustaceans must be identified on labels with an allergy warning.
People who are allergic to crustaceans should avoid all crustaceans:
- Crawfish (Crayfish or Crawdads)
- Sea Urchin
People who are allergic to mollusks should avoid all mollusks:
- Clams (Quahogs)
- Snails (Escargot - both sea and land snails should be avoided)
- Squid (Calimari)
- Surimi (imitation shellfish)
However, many people who are allergic to one family of shellfish are allergic to both families. Talk to your doctor or allergist before trying out any new types of seafood.
Avoiding Shellfish in Restaurants
If you have a shellfish allergy, you should avoid some types of restaurants because of the high risk of cross-contamination.
- Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese, or Malaysian foods often contain a fish sauce made from shrimp.
- Cajun or Creole food often contains shrimp or other shellfish.
- Seafood restaurants are an obvious poor choice.
- Restaurants may use shellfish stock as a flavoring or base for sauces or soups. Always ask if an item contains shellfish.
- People with severe shellfish allergies have had allergic reactions from breathing in particles of allergens from shellfish that is being steamed or fried.
Foods that Often Contain Shellfish
- Bouillabase (a French fish soup)
- Ceviche (fish or shellfish in an acidic citrus marinade)
- Clamato (a clam broth and tomato juice mixture sometimes used in Bloody Mary drinks)
- Crevette (the French term for shrimp)
- Nam Prik (Thai fish sauce)
- Mam Tom (Vitenamese fish sauce)
Non-Food Sources of Shellfish
- Compost or fertilizers
- Fish food
- Pet food
- HemCon bandages (A wound dressing made from shrimp shells)
- Calcium supplements made from oyster shells or coral
- Omega-3 supplements (usually made from fish, but sometimes made from shellfish)
Interventional Hemostasis Products. Q&A. http://www.interventionalhp.com/faq.php#2e Accessed 2/10/2011.
Canadian Food Inspection Agency. Seafood Allergy. http://www.inspection.gc.ca/english/fssa/labeti/allerg/fispoie.shtml Accessed 2/10/2011.