Shellfish Allergy Diet
General guidelines for shellfish allergy
When your child has a food allergy, he or she must follow an
allergy-free diet. This means your child can't have the food they are allergic to,
any products containing that food. The items that your child is allergic to are called
shellfish allergy is the immune system's abnormal response to the proteins found in
shellfish. People allergic to one type of shellfish are often allergic to other types.
To stay away from foods that contain shellfish proteins, it's important to read food
foods regulated by the FDA, the federal Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection
Act (FALCPA) requires packaged foods to state clearly on the label if a product has
shellfish. Some companies may also include statements such as "may contain shellfish"
"may be made in a facility that processes shellfish." But these kinds of advisory
statements are voluntary. Companies are not required to put this on the food label.
Some foods and products are not covered by FALCPA. These include:
Foods that are not regulated by the FDA
Cosmetics and personal care items
Prescription and over-the-counter medicines and
Toys, crafts, pet foods
lists below shows foods and products that could contain shellfish. It is not a complete
list. But it can help guide your decisions. It is up to you to carefully read all
How to read
a label for a shellfish-free diet
away from foods with any of these ingredients:
Clams (cherrystone, littleneck, geoduck, pismo, quahog)
Cockle, periwinkle, sea urchin
Crawfish, crawdad, crayfish, ecrevisse, krill
Limpet (lapas, opihi)
Lobster, langouste, langoustine, Moreton bay bugs, scampi, coral, tomalley
Octopus, squid (calamari)
Sea cucumber (often used in Asian soups)
Shrimp, prawns, crevette, scampi
Whelk (turban shell)
following foods may mean that shellfish protein is present:
When you are not at home
For your child's general safety:
Always carry 2 epinephrine auto-injectors. Make sure you
and those close to you and your child know how to use it.
If you don't have epinephrine auto-injectors, talk with
your healthcare provider to see if you should carry them.
Have your child wear a medical alert bracelet or necklace
with their allergy information.
When you are eating out:
Any food that is made in a seafood
restaurant could be cross-contaminated with fish or shellfish. This includes
Some people who are allergic to fish may
react to cooking odors or from touching shellfish or fish.
Be careful when eating in Asian
restaurants. Fish sauce is often used as a flavor enhancer.
Shellfish protein can
be spread in the air, in the steam released during cooking. Don't eat at
steam tables or buffets where seafood or shellfish is displayed and served.
This can also help to avoid cross-contamination of foods with shared
In a restaurant, food
may be cross-contaminated with shellfish. Always read food labels and ask
about ingredients at restaurants. Do this even if these are foods your child
has eaten in the past.
Online Medical Reviewers:
- Daphne Pierce-Smith RN MSN CCRC
- Deborah Pedersen MD
- Marianne Fraser MSN RN