Children's Health and Wellness

Shellfish Allergy Diet for Children

General guidelines for shellfish allergy

The key to an allergy-free diet is to avoid giving your child the foods or products containing the food to which he or she is allergic. The items to which your child is allergic are called allergens.

A shellfish allergy is an abnormal response of the body to the proteins found in shellfish. In order to avoid foods that contain shellfish proteins, it is important to read food labels.

How to read a label for an shellfish-free diet

Be sure to avoid foods that contain any of the following ingredients:

  • Abalone

  • Barnacle

  • Clams (cherrystone, littleneck, geoduck, pismo, quahog)

  • Cockle, periwinkle, sea urchin

  • Crab

  • Crawfish, crawdad, crayfish, ecrevisse, krill

  • Cuttlefish

  • Limpet (lapas, opihi)

  • Lobster, langouste, langoustine, Moreton bay bugs, scampi, coral, tomalley

  • Mollusks

  • Mussels

  • Octopus, squid (calamari) 

  • Oyster

  • Periwinkle

  • Prawns

  • Scallops

  • Sea cucumber (often used in Asian soups) 

  • Sea urchin

  • Shrimp, prawns, crevette, scampi

  • Snail (escargot)

  • Squid (calamari)

  • Whelk (turban shell) 

The following foods may indicate that shellfish protein is present:

  • Bouillabaisse

  • Cuttlefish ink

  • Fish stock

  • Glucosamine

  • Seafood flavoring (crab, clam extract)

  • Surimi

Any food–even a nonseafood item–that is made in a seafood restaurant could be cross-contaminated with fish or shellfish.

Some fish-allergic individuals may react to cooking odors or from touching shellfish or fish.

Use caution when eating in Asian restaurants. Fish sauce is often used as a flavor enhancer.

Shellfish protein can become airborne in the steam released during cooking. Avoid steam tables or buffets where seafood is displayed and served.

  

Online Source: Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Seafood Allergyhttp://www.aafa.org/display.cfm?id=9&sub=20&cont=518
Online Source: Food Allergy Initiative. Shellfish Alllergyhttp://www.foodallergy.org/?page=shellfish
Online Source: Food Allergy Research and Education. Tips for Avoiding Your Allergenhttp://www.foodallergy.org/document.doc?id=133
Online Source: American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. Food Allergyhttps://www.aaaai.org/conditions-and-treatments/library/at-a-glance/food-allergy.aspx
Online Editor: Metzger, Geri K.
Online Medical Reviewer: MMI board-certified, academically affiliated clinician
Online Medical Reviewer: Pierce-Smith, Daphne, RN, MSN, CCRC
Date Last Reviewed: 8/27/2014
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